The Power of Holi


It’s Holi time. The vibrant celebration of culture in a fun way that children of all ages, old and young alike, have been able to come together. Through the rainbow cascades of coloured powder, lights, and streamers showing each other the warmth of our communities in the spirit of congeniality, unity and at the end of the day, you are doused in colour from head to toe.

This year also marks the third year in a row where communal festivities are cancelled due to the ongoing health situation and it can be an emotional issue for the many stallholders, organisers, musicians and dancers that come together to make the festival so special every year.  It is important to remember people spend months planning their dance routines, caterers spend weeks preparing their hand-made sweets and pastries and organisers usually have put thousands of dollars, hours on end into the preparations before the reluctant decision is made to cancel or postpone the celebrations.

I looked back over some photos and in particular, I think of some of the exciting Holi afternoons I have had with my fellow MPs and National volunteers on the Campaign trail and how much fun Holi can be as a break for some ‘blue powdered’ light-heartedness amidst the intensity of political debate and constituent advocacy. The power of Holi as a festival has seen it transform from purely religious and cultural into a pan-secular celebration with charitable colour runs now being organised in many parts of New Zealand in true Kiwi spirit to the celebrations of unity, making new friends and the changing seasons.

The National Party always cherishes joining with the Indian community for Holi each year and while the significant reduction in opportunities for our Caucus to get out and celebrate alongside your families is disappointing we will be thinking of you all and looking forward to the next exciting gathering once the mood of Omicron is lifted.

Right now even with Labour’s cost of living crisis, the impact of higher petrol costs and the ongoing delays to seeing loved ones return to New Zealand from offshore, we can celebrate Holi and the colour of life in each other. Whether through reaching out to our overseas friends via digital platforms or reaching out to a neighbour with some home-baking, we can all take steps to support each other through these challenging times. While Omicron has cast a pall over the nation with self-isolation, RATs and impacts on businesses we should remember the spirit of Holi and the brightness of friends and families in our lives in the knowledge that there are better days ahead, the National team knows it.

COVID-19 and Omicron has made life difficult, hurt businesses and split families apart for months on end but there is a light around the corner as we not only learn to adapt and be agile to the impacts of COVID but also re-embrace our friends from across the globe in the spirit of the Holi season. Please remember the National team is here to help if you are doing it tough and need support, my office door, whether digitally or in person, is always open to assist you.

In the names of Holi across the many languages of India and South-South East Asia we can see the diversity of culture that makes the holiday so special. So whether you have been celebrating Holi, होली, ಹೋಳಿ, होळी, होली, ਹੋਲੀ,  హోళి , বসন্ত উত্সব , দ’ল যাত্ৰা, ଦୋଳଯାତ୍ରା , ফাকুৱা, Dol Jatra, Phagwah or Basanto Utsav, the entire National Caucus wish you all the very best for the year ahead.

Happy Holi, may your life be colourful!


Note: This article originally ran in the Indian Newslink Holi Special Edition on March 15 2022