The first year of ANTS has been tumultuous but rewarding, as we had hardly started ANTS’ first year’s programmes when Covid-19 lock-downs and restrictions occurred. In fact, our first event (Pongal in Parliament) that was originally planned on 25 March 2020 was cancelled one day prior this event as it coincided with the first day of the country’s nationwide lockdown in March 2020. Social distancing forced us to rethink new ways of the delivery of our activities and events. We were blessed with some wonderful volunteers and well-wishers who ensured that ANTS continued to be engaged with our members, Tamils all over New Zealand and key stakeholders such as the Office of Ethnic Communities.
As a team, we managed to defy all odds and managed to coordinate and successfully carry out the Pongal in the Parliament on 23 February 2021. I would like to thank and record the support provided by all the Tamil Societies/Tamil Sangams in New Zealand for their participation and contribution to the success of the event. Our team is grateful to Hon Michael Wood (Minister) and Hon Vanushi Walters for graciously hosting this event in the New Zealand Parliament and to Hon Priyanca Radhakrishnan (Minister) for officiating this event. The team is further delighted to express our appreciation to the High Commissioner of India to New Zealand, His Excellency Muktesh K. Pardeshi for supporting ANTS. ANTS is also thankful to National Engagement Manager of New Zealand Police, Superintendent Rakesh Naidoo for having supported ANTS throughout our journey.
Strength in unity
We look forward to building upon our first success in 2020/21 and expanding our programmes in future years, and to securing partnerships both with funders and our key stakeholders. We have been through the difficult phase of establishing the federation, and we are confident that, with our talented Executive Committee and volunteers, ANTS is poised for greater heights in the coming years.