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Students lead the Diwali celebrations at Wintec | Te Pūkenga

Diwali 2023 performers, organisers, volunteers and audience all enjoyed the celebrations at Wintec | Te Pūkenga City Campus, including International Student Services Advisors, Unmesha Veetil (far left) and Li Li (front row with orange Sari)  

This year, the Diwali celebrations at Wintec | Te Pūkenga City and Rotokauri campuses were completely ākonga (student)-led, making them even more special than usual. Although facilitated by the International Student Support team, the events were entirely hosted by ākonga, from the MCs to all of the entertainment. 

Unmesha Veetil, International Student Services Advisor, said the events were vibrant and high energy and a real testament to the students. 

“The MCs did a great job of engaging the audience and getting them singing along, the dance performances and magic tricks were stunning and there were even talented students doing henna designs. On the request of the audience there was a final open dance floor which got many from the audience dancing too and proved lots of fun.”

Unmesha was impressed with the ākonga who had been preparing and practicing for the events for weeks, with the final rehearsal the day prior. 

“The students’ dedication and passion were so commendable. Finding time to plan and rehearse for the event was a real juggle for them around their classes, assessments, part-time work, work placements and tests.” 

This year, for the first time in many years, ākonga and kaimahi from the Rotokauri campus also got to enjoy the dance performances as part of the Diwali celebration. The group of performers were excited to be able to share their talents at both campuses across two days this year.

The student performers and organisers appreciated the opportunity to share Diwali with the wider Wintec student community. Some of the group had expressed how they missed their country’s cultural festivals and dancing, so being part of the event was something that brought them a lot of both happiness and pride. On the day everyone really enjoyed themselves. 

“Everyone gave their best to ensure the event was a success and their energy and enthusiasm were contagious. It was fantastic to even see students attending the event joining in to help setting up and cleaning after. It was such a wonderful show of the strength of our community,” said Unmesha.

She also said they received glowing feedback during the event from our Wintec whānau, “one of the wonderful moments was when we were asked if we had hired professional performers! We proudly informed them that all the performers were our amazingly talented Wintec international students – it was a very proud moment for all of us.” 

Supporting the performers at each event was a dedicated group of volunteers who helped to set up the stage, dish up the Indian food and sweets and clean up afterwards. 

To express their gratitude to students and as a token of appreciation for their talents and great efforts, the international team gave a small gift and thank you card to each performer, MC, henna artist and volunteer.

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