GOPIO Queensland chapter, as usual has been progressively active with community activities. 14th May saw the commemorative function in the memory of the First Indian to have arrived on the shores of Fiji Islands. The function known as Girmit Diwas is now observed globally on 14th of May.

For GOPIO Queensland this was the second Girmit Diwas to be held at Queensland Multicultural Centre in Kangaroo point. The keynote speaker this year was Mr Uthkat (Bob Naiker) who gave a detailed history of Fiji Islands, going well before the arrival of Indians on 14th May 1879.

The program included the keynote speech and an audio presentation by Umesh Chandra who was the coordinator of Girmit Diwas and is the GOPIO International Coordinator for Oceania region. Last year Umesh had screened the video of the Kolkata memorial inauguration in which Gopio had played a major role, this year Umesh screened the video taken during the inauguration of the Trinidad memorial, this was very well received as the speech of GOPIO Trinidad president Mrs Ena Maharaj was very powerful, she described the hardship faced by the “Girmitiyas” in Trinidad, which is pretty much the same scenario as in Fiji, Mauritius etc.

After the presentations and keynote speech the main speaker together with invited guests laid a wreath at the picture of the Kolkata memorial. Everyone present was given an opportunity to pay floral tribute. Light refreshments were served in the foyer area. Apart from Mr Uthkat Naiker other dignitaries included; Honorary Counsel for India in Queensland Mrs Archana Singh, Anti Discrimination Commissioner Kevin Cox, Mr Vijendra Kumar former editor of Fiji Times and last year’s keynote speaker, Councillor Angela Owen Taylor, Inspector Michael Maat, Serge Volensencko, Police liaison officer Shalini Singh, Executive director of Multi Cultural Affairs Queensland Wayne Briscoe and others. GOPIO Queensland will hold this memorial service every year on 14th of May.

GOPIO Women’s council, Picnic in the park

ANOTHER very active wing of GOPIO Queensland is the Women’s council headed by Amitha Jaggessar, earlier in the year they held a very successful forum on domestic violence on the occasion of International Women’s Day. For a second time GOPIO Women’s council held their very famous picnic in the park at New Farm Park.

Despite the few morning showers the day turned to be nothing but perfect. Many fun activities of the day included the popular Antakshri competition between the males and females teams, one was giving up.

The BBQ was a fusion of Indian and Western cuisine. A great atmosphere with a good crowd paid off the efforts of the committee and helpers.

GOPIO Queensland’s Creative thinking business seminar

UNDER the leadership of Robin Jaggessar, GOPIO Queensland’s Business council is flourishing, one of the business seminars was a leadership workshop on creative thinking. Pele Ramdhani, a corporate trainer, coach and business development manager of Good Life Health Clubs moderated the sessions.

The panel included Yousuf Akikhan from Financial first, Umesh Chandra from Chantex Pty Ltd and Shyam Das from Target Travel and Yours and Robin Jaggessar from Intech Institute of technology.

Pele facilitated the seminar quite well, he ran in two sessions the first session was a break out session, which involved a team building exercise, the second session was the panel discussion where by each of the panelists first gave a short talk each on their companies and then the floor was opened to questions and answers.

The interactive nature of the seminar kept everyone involved and connected. Overall a very successful seminar with good attendance. In the usual GOPIO hospitality refreshments were served to all.

GOPIO Queensland’s ATO Tax seminar

FOR a second year in a row GOPIO Queensland was chosen to facilitate the ATO seminar in Brisbane, ATO has recognised the strengths and community connect of GOPIO Queensland and hence partners with GOPIO Queensland in organising these seminars, last year the topic was “superannuation” this year the seminar was titled “Reinventing the ATO”.

Around 65 people registered for the seminar held at Queensland Multicultural Centre Kangaroo Point, on a very cold Brisbane night that was quite impressive. Loc Trinh spoke on how his diversity team connects with diverse community especially the new and emerging communities, ATO plans to disseminate the vital information out to the diverse communities via these forums.

The second part of the seminar focused on the welcome changes being made by ATO in its dealing with everyone. The challenging new world of digital technology demands all forward thinking organisations to keep abreast with the ever changing environment. Question and answer session was quite popular and there was a good exchange of ideas and suggestions including making the business portal more user friendly, which currently is very confusing especially when you upgrade your computer or every time Java releases an update. The seminar concluded with refreshments being served.

GOPIO Queensland India Day Fair 2015 planning

GOPIO Queensland is very busy planning India Day Fair 2015, the function has moved a notch being recognised as a Queensland iconic event. It is a credit to the hard work done by all previous committees and helpers. Becoming an Iconic event brings with it added responsibilities which the committee is dealing with. The committee has decided to limit the number of stalls this year, keeping in mind the terrain.

The event will be on 15th of August itself which is a Saturday, being a Saturday committee has decided to change the timings a bit, the program will now begin at 10:30am and go till 9pm. International artistes from Bollywood are in negotiations with GOPIO Queensland for the headliner show stopper segment. Many local artists have already registered their expression of inertest in performing at India Day Fair 2015.

The parade will begin at the Statue of Mahatma Gandhi and finish at the main stage. VIP reception will be held close to Mahatma Gandhi statue. The fireworks extravaganza will remain the grand finale of the event.

GOPIO Queensland has received good support in terms of sponsorship, however a lot more is needed to stage an event such as this. Queensland Government’s grant is a big assistance and the committee is grateful for this. Various levels of sponsorship packages are available, with platinum being the highest level. Platinum sponsors enjoy exclusivity in their category, which is only fair to the platinum sponsor.

The venue remains the amphitheatre at Roma Street Parklands, it is a pristine location, though challenging logistically. Parking and access to the park are also challenging. Despite these challenges the number of people attending India Day Fair is increasing every year, a point to note is that all the people attending India Day fair have especially come for the event and were not just passer bys of the thoroughfare .

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