‘Wish everyone in Aotearoa a healthy Dashain’

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Dinesh Khadka JP

Where in Nepal do you come from?

I came from a very remote part of Nepal, near Sindhuli district, which is in the eastern hill side of the country.

When did you come to New Zealand and what brought you here?

Before coming to New Zealand, I had already visited several countries on business trips and had gathered experience of living overseas. Like most migrants, I came to New Zealand, in the year 2000, to gain experience. Over a period of time, I worked hard, struggled and learned about the culture here, and eventually decided to raise my family in this country.

What is the best thing that you have experienced since coming to NZ?

I own several businesses, such as facility maintenance, rental properties and I am also a kiwi fruit grower. But I think the best thing that I have experienced so far is the opportunity to represent my community as President of the NZ Nepalese Society, as well as the NZ Nepal Chamber of Commerce. During last year’s lockdown, I had the privilege to look after 800-plus students who were stranded in NZ in the pandemic situation. Some of them had just arrived, while others lost their student jobs overnight. Volunteering Auckland named me a ‘Lockdown Hero’, but the satisfaction I felt from this experience, I cannot express in words.

One thing that could have been avoided since you arrived in this country?

The hills and mountains of Aotearoa New Zealand remind me of my home country, Nepal. Except for the ocean, of course, as Nepal is a landlocked country. But I think one thing that could have been avoided is representation of Nepal and our community beyond the mountains. We are fortunate to have the Himalayan ranges, and Sir Edmund Hillary, a New Zealander, has contributed immensely to popularise Nepal in NZ. But, we have so much more to offer other than mountains. I think both Nepal and New Zealand need to revisit their bilateral relationship; the two governments need to have a discussion.

Dashain is widely celebrated by the Nepalese community in NZ

Your golden advice to the Nepalese community in NZ, especially in the light of the pandemic situation?

My key message to the Nepali community would be to get tested if you have symptoms and most importantly get registered and vaccinated. I know this has been a challenging time for several communities, including our small migrant community. Look after your well-being and check with your immediate friends and elderly, and see how they are doing. If anyone has difficulty booking vaccination due to language barrier, then please reach out to your local community organisation as there are several Nepali community organisations all over New Zealand.

What would you wish for the Nepalese community on the occasion of Dashain?

Dashain is widely celebrated not only by the Nepali people, but by several other Asian diaspora. Thus, I wish everyone living in Aotearoa New Zealand who celebrates Dashain, a healthy Dashain. On this occasion, I want to highlight the importance of physical and mental well-being. Everyone in this world has been impacted by COVID-19. We have to fight this pandemic together. Please vaccinate yourself and encourage your loved ones to do so. That way we can celebrate festivals like Dashain in a bigger way and in larger groups.

Khadka at the 2019 Dashain celebrations in Auckland
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