Kiwis from all over New Zealand gathered at the Waipuna Lodge in Auckland this past weekend to celebrate the 70th Anniversary of the reestablishment of the State of Israel and Aliyah (assisting the return of Jews to their ancient homeland). The multi-cultural event drew members of the New Zealand Christian, Māori, Pacific, Indian and Jewish groups for an inspiring evening of celebration and song.
The event organizers recognized Israel’s remarkable achievements and the contributions it has made to the world in just 70 years and by supporting Aliyah.
The evening began with a traditional Powhiri led by Ngapuhi kaumatua (elder) Pat Ruka with MP and Leader of the Parliamentary Friends of Israel Group Hon. Alfred Ngaro. He spoke about the strong connection and bonds between the Māori, Pacific and Jewish peoples, and the importance of supporting Israel.
A programme featuring several performances and speeches by the dignitaries in attendance followed the Powhiri. Israeli Ambassador to New Zealand H.E. Dr Itzak Gerberg spoke about Israel’s achievements in high-tech and innovation.
Commemorating ‘Haifa Day’ (the taking of Haifa in 1918 by the Indian cavalry), Chair of the Indian Association of New Zealand Veer Khar was presented with a certificate by Zionist Federation of New Zealand President Rob Berg (in conjunction with the Astor Foundation) from the State of Israel and a letter from Chairman of the Jewish Agency, Isaac Herzog.
Deputy Chief of Mission from the Israel Embassy in Wellington Mrs Kasa Bainesay-Harbor told the audience her powerful personal story of growing up in a village in Ethiopia and making Aliyah at the age of 10. Performers from Jubilee Dance Ministries put on an amazing show and singer Anna Hawkins dazzled the crowd.
The fantastic event was organized by Christians for Israel Executive National Director Bryce Turner and Keren Hayesod Director of the Friends of Israel Division Shmulik Fried. Pastor Nigel Woodley presided as the Master of Ceremonies.
Dignitaries and MPs in attendance included David Robinson – Honorary Consul in Auckland, Act Leader David Seymour, Peter T. Kiely – Honorary Consul of Slovakia, MP Melissa Lee and MP Brett Hudson. Funds were raised at the event for Fundraising for Aliyah – Helping Bring the Jewish People Home.