New Zealand: you are an eternal multicultural paradise

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A Community Leader’s Wish List as a Testament to Her Country of Birth

Baljit Kaur with his daughter, Dr. Malvindar (file photo)

Baljit Kaur
Auckland, March 12, 2022

Standfirst: For hundreds of people who knew Baljit Kaur, director of the Waitakere Ethnic Board and a member of the Waitemata District Police Ethnic Advisory Board and many other organizations, the news of his condition about a month ago was a terrible shock. No man or woman is immortal and yet the cruelty of fate is unfathomable, even unfair, when it strikes noble people like Baljit. We pray for her recovery as she battles this terrible thing called Cancer, but we know she is a brave human being – braver than all of us. She wrote the following message which was read at the launch of a report on ethnic community contributions to New Zealand in West Auckland on March 11, 2022. A separate story on the report follows. Baljit’s message is touching – it was for all New Zealanders and Aotearoa, where she was born and raised.

My love from Aotearoa – Truly grateful

Above all, I would like to thank and recognize my parents: my father, who became the first generation of my family to be born in New Zealand – Tej Singh Khaila in Whanganui, 1932. And my mother: Chanan Kaur (a new immigrant in New Zealand), to be that warm Indian woman that many households still embody three generations later.

I’m proud to say I’m a daughter of migration and the start of a movement that helped raise New Zealand’s economic profile to where it is today.

The universality of God

I would like to take a moment to share a small excerpt from the teachings adapted from the Sikh Faith to which I belong. This is one of the words of my Guru Gobind Singh Ji, the 10th and last disciple of Sikhism:

Karta (The Creator) and Karim (The Beneficent) are the names of the same God.
Razak (the supplier) and Rahim (the merciful) are also the names given to him.
Let no one in his error quarrel over differences of Names.
Worship the one God who is Lord of all. Know that this form is one and the One Light diffused in All.
Those who call me God will fall into the depths of hell. Regard me as one of his slaves and have no doubt about it. I am a servant of the Supreme Being and I have come to see the marvelous drama of life.

I derive great meaning from these words and these feelings are also echoed by what most of my core group also believe.

Baljit Kaur with husband Manmohan Bains, son Karamjit and daughter Dr Malvindar in January 2022 (Photo provided)

The people who are my special

These special people I would like to thank include:

My husband, Manmohan Bains, my children Karamjit Singh Bains and Malvindar Kaur Bains. My younger brother Azad Munjit Singh Khaila and his partner Nirmala Devi. My niece, Revinder Singh. My Punjabi younger sister Mandeep Kaur Sidhu and my Punjabi younger brother Gurdeep Talwar. One of my best friends for over ten years Mandy Spencer. As well as my other adopted daughters Nasim Mehrabi and Zahrah Ali. Thank you all for being my main assistants in every way.

I have been associated with the Waitakere Ethnic Board (WEB) for ten years and have recently been appointed as Director. I want to thank these wonderful people who have inspired me throughout this progression: 1. Dr Camille Nakhid (former WEB member) 2. Monica Sharma 3. Mary Dawson 4. Mandy Spencer (again for being my friend from office) 5. Sam Farquhar 6 Nanette Nathoo 7. Venkat Raman 8. Rizwaana Latiff 9. Michelle Clayton 10. Sofia Kaur 11. Chris Carter 12. Zara Fazel 13. Tayyaba Khan (the first WEB coordinator) and 14. Bobby Arora, owner from the Little India restaurant who has selflessly donated amazing food to Waitakere Ethnic Board events.

I would also like to thank former WEB Presidents Amial and Boaz Habib, Kudakwashe, Shirley Freeman and Naveen Prakash as well as some influential former board members Zahra Atai, Zaif Khan, Sunil Kaushal, Thakur Ranjit Singh and Anne-Degia Pala .

As a thank you (if you are present today) could you please come forward and accept a set of flowers just to say a big thank you for your collective wise words of wisdom and some of you for be part of the WEB of the years that have passed.

Contributions from Ethnic Communities: A Report

Now let’s get to the launch. I very much appreciate that the launch of the Ethnic Minority Contributions Report has finally taken place, as it was something we wanted to present at the end of October/November 2021.

But Auckland was in lockdown until December 2021 which made running it quite difficult.

Although I am not present today for health reasons, my desire for this event to begin has come true and I am sincerely grateful to all of you who attend in such a short time.

Baljit Kaur with his daughter Dr Malvindar in February 2022 (Photo provided)

A call to Immigration New Zealand

Here are some thoughts that I would like to pass on to all of you present today:

Can I ask immigration to expedite the processing of all permanent applications pending overseas as soon as possible?

That future government policy will only accept future applications from highly skilled migrants with family support, as New Zealand certainly needs more of these types of people. This was even more evident to me in the hospital setting where the majority of my care was primarily staffed by migrant healthcare professionals.

Congratulations to these wonderful highly skilled migrants who work so hard and with such dedication and skills beyond the dollar value from the Philippines, India, China, the Middle East and the African continent, for n to name a few. Thank you all very much.

Imperative funding increase

I personally insisted for nearly eight years that we did not need a token office of ethnic communities. I think the funding to help our communities at the time was $500,000. Is this a fair portrayal to aid the great and ever-changing multicultural contribution that migrants have made to this country? We needed to be recognized in a fulfilling way.

So of course I was so happy that our communities now have an ethnic communities ministry with a fairer share of funding available to help all migrants since we are currently 20% of the population and growing.

It was a great victory, a privilege and a joy to witness the official launch of this ministry in Wellington in June 2021.

And finally, to the fantastic man of the day; thank you Shamubeel Eaqub (Economist at Sense Partners, Wellington) for your excellent report which we hope the government and anyone else with an interest in the future of New Zealand recognizes as a rapidly changing multicultural paradise.

By using this report, we can help with future planning for everything from infrastructure to city planning and many other possibilities.

Personally, looking to the future, I wish the WEB had a true multicultural support center set up in Henderson for all people, not just ethnic people but for everyone. Let’s see what will happen in the future.

Thank you.


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