New multicultural group
A low-key internationalflavoured pot luck dinner in Queenstown has marked the formation of the Lakes District Multicultural Council.
Founding president Tam Schurmann, who is from South Africa, said the idea grew from the groundswell of support for Sri Lankans Dinesha Amarasinghe, her husband Sam Wijerathne, and their three boys, who were facing deportation last year after Dinesha was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
‘‘As a community Dinesha and Sam’s story touched a lot of hearts with people all over Queenstown from different walks of life that really had empathy and compassion for what they were going through.’’
Also, through her work with Baskets of Blessings, the charity she founded, Schurmann was aware of many people in the community who were isolated and needing support networks.
The council would be able to help people practically by connecting them with organisations that can provide assistance.
However, the key focus was on building social connections, sharing cultures and creating a ‘‘community within a community’’.
‘‘We will be advertising our monthly pot luck dinners and plan to organise workshops, festivals and celebrate other cultural events, including the likes of the German beer festival Oktoberfest.
The group was yet to hold an official launch but already had representatives from South Africa, New Zealand, Malaysia, Germany and Sri Lanka, and members of the Fijian and various South American communities had shown interest in joining.
The first pot lock dinner was an excellent example of what they were aiming for Schurmann said: ‘‘wonderful unity and friendship.’’
Readers can find out more about the Lakes District Multicultural Council, the 21st local council to form in New Zealand, via their Facebook page.
The first international pot-luck dinner for the crew behind the newly formed Lakes District Multicultural Council.