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Sri Lanka Celebrates National Day in Wellington with Strong Government and Diplomatic Community Representation | Dilhan Athapaththu | Wellington

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In a resplendent display of friendship and cultural richness, Wellington played host to a jubilant celebration marking the 76th Independence Day and National Day of Sri Lanka. Spearheaded by the newly appointed Honorary Consul for Sri Lanka, Taniya Scott, the event brought together a tapestry of esteemed guests, diplomatic representatives, and community leaders on February 13th, 2024, at the Wharewaka Function Centre.

The gathering bore testament to the deepening ties between Sri Lanka and New Zealand, with the distinguished presence of Hon. Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of New Zealand, serving as a beacon of solidarity and mutual respect. His attendance underscored the shared commitment towards fostering a robust partnership between the two nations.

Mrs Taniya Scott, Honorary Consul for Sri Lanka with Hon Winston Peters, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister in New Zealand.

Joanna Kempkers, Division Manager South and South East Asia at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, graced the occasion with her poignant insights, drawing from her tenure as the former High Commissioner of New Zealand to Sri Lanka. Her reflections illuminated the trajectory of the burgeoning relationship, symbolising the promising avenues of collaboration that lie ahead.

The festivities resonated with the vibrancy of Sri Lankan culture, as showcased through captivating performances by the students of the Sri Lankan Dance Academy. Their graceful movements and evocative routines served as a poignant reminder of the nation’s rich cultural heritage, captivating the audience and fostering a deeper appreciation for diversity.

The event also served as a testament to the thriving Sri Lankan community in New Zealand, with recent census data indicating a steady rise in population numbers. From 16,830 individuals in 2018 to an estimated 20,000 in 2023, the growing presence of the Sri Lankan diaspora underscores their significant contributions to the social fabric of New Zealand.

Joanna Kempkers, Division Manager South and South East Asia – Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Local businesses, such as the renowned Dilmah brand, played a pivotal role in enhancing the experience, offering guests a taste of Sri Lanka through their signature Ceylon cinnamon ice tea. The fusion of flavours and cultures served as a microcosm of harmonious integration and collaboration within the community, epitomising the spirit of unity and inclusivity.

The success of the event was also a testament to the meticulous planning and dedication of the organising committee, led by Taniya Scott. Months of preparation went into ensuring that every aspect of the celebration reflected the essence of Sri Lankan culture while also fostering meaningful connections between attendees. From coordinating performances to securing sponsorship from local businesses, the committee’s efforts were instrumental in creating an immersive and memorable experience for all.

Moreover, the celebration served as a platform for highlighting the achievements and contributions of the Sri Lankan community in New Zealand. Through various speeches and presentations, individuals and organisations were recognised for their efforts in promoting cultural exchange, fostering community engagement, and contributing to the nation’s socio-economic fabric. This recognition not only bolstered the sense of pride within the community but also reinforced the importance of diversity and inclusion in New Zealand society.

Sri Lankan Dance Academy performances.

As the curtains slowly descended, marking the end of this unforgettable celebration, it became clear that the relationship between Sri Lanka and New Zealand had reached a new level of strength. As Taniya Scott shared with SriLankaNZ newspaper, the celebration not only honoured the past but also heralded a future defined by cooperation, friendship, and shared prosperity. It is through such gatherings that the bonds between nations are strengthened, paving the way for a brighter tomorrow, grounded in the values of unity and respect.

Overall, Sri Lanka’s National Day celebration in Wellington was a resounding success, leaving a lasting impression on all who attended. As guests departed with fond memories and strengthened connections, the event served as a testament to the enduring friendship and shared values between Sri Lanka and New Zealand. With a renewed sense of camaraderie and cooperation, both nations look forward to a future defined by mutual respect, prosperity, and collaboration across all spheres of engagement.


By Dilhan Athapaththu – Wellington

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