Justice promoting diversity in the workplace

Image of volunteers and organisers for the Ministry of Justice Diwali Celebration

More than 200 people from Wellington’s Courts and Ministry of Justice offices got together on the 13 October and enjoyed an authentic Indian lunch to celebrate Diwali, the annual Hindu Festival of Lights.

The lunch event grows more popular each year and continues to raise funds for various charities. This year the team enjoyed curries, rice, samosas, salad and a sweet Kesari dish. It also featured a classical Indian dance performance of “Pushpanjali” by 12-year-old Sharanya Panda, the daughter of one of the Diwali event organisers.

The event was organised by Rashmi Nandita, Sourirajan Venkatachari, Srijanani Panda and Selva Ramasami who welcomed people to the event.

‘As more and more people attend, what started out as some snacks in the atrium a few years back has grown into this great opportunity to support worthy causes,’ said Mr Ramasani. ‘People are really generous and we simply facilitate that.’

Wellington Hospitals’ Foundation Chair, Bill Day attended on behalf of this year’s chosen charity and thanked everyone for their generosity. The event raised $2,400, which will be donated to the Wellington Hospitals’ Foundation and the Wellington Children’s Hospital.

People donated $10 to attend and previous recipients have included Wellington Free Ambulance and KidsCan. In 2016, $1,800 was raised for the Mary Potter Hospice.

Senior leaders also played a role in the ceremonial aspects of Diwali at National Office. Tania Ott, Director Senior Courts, lit the Diya (oil lamp) to signify the start of the festival.

‘It’s important that we as leaders support these cultural events,’ said Ms Ott.

‘Our people reflect our communities and the public we serve, so taking part in fantastic cultural events like Diwali recognises and celebrates this diversity.’

Andy Fulbrook, Acting Deputy Secretary Corporate, thanked everyone involved and acknowledged the chance to socialise as important.

‘The renewal of life symbolic to Diwali is a great opportunity for a lively get together - to share a meal with our colleagues, and to raise funds for a worthy cause,’ said Mr Fulbrook.

Other celebrations were held around the Ministry including a lunch and dance competition at Manukau District Court.

[Caption: Left to right front row; Ila Jadeja, Neha Tailor, Rashmi Nandita, Srijanani Panda, Sharanya Panda, Rachael Thompson, Maggie Li, Maria de Manuel. Back row; Sunil Ubale, Sachin Bhola,    Selva Ramasami, Sourirajan Venkatachari, Sandra Simon, Supriya Bhatia, David Nelson, Bavisanth Thayarooban