Arts and Culture

We support and organise Asia-related events and festivals, and offer artists professional development opportunities in Asia

About Diwali Festival of Lights and competition

Diwali is celebrated by people in India and Indians living abroad. Families light lamps, candles and fireworks to symbolise the triumph of light over darkness, wisdom over ignorance and good over evil.

The Auckland and Wellington Diwali festivals are held each year in mid October. 

Children dressed in traditional outfits at Auckland Diwali

This year's festivals

Auckland: October 14-15, Aotea Square 

Wellington: October 23, TSB Bank Arena

About the Diwali festivals

Diwali, also known as Deepavali (literally 'a row of lamps'), is perhaps the most important and ancient of the Indian festivals.

Traditionally, Diwali is celebrated for five days, and takes place at the new moon on 15th day of the Hindu month of Kartik or Karthika (October/November). This is at the beginning of the winter season and is called the “darkest night of the year”, so lamps are lit to brighten this moonless night.

Originally a Hindu festival, Diwali is also celebrated by Sikhs and Jains. It's an official holiday in India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Mauritius, Guyana, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Malaysia, Singapore and Fiji.

Diwali signifies different things in different areas of India. For example, in Gujarat, the festival honours Laxmi, the goddess of wealth. In north India, it celebrates the god Rama’s homecoming to the kingdom of Ayodhya after a 14-year exile. To light his way and rejoice at his return, the people of Ayodhya illuminated the kingdom with earthen diyas and fireworks.

But generally speaking, Diwali signifies the triumph of light over darkness, good over evil, and renewal of life.

Win a trip for two to Singapore

WIN return flights for two to Singapore courtesy of of Air New Zealand with Asia New Zealand Foundation's Diwali photo/video competition.

To be in to win, simply take a photo or video of your Diwali celebrations and post or share it via Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat with the hashtag #DiwaliNZ. If you're using Snapchat, don't forget to add AsiaNZF as a friend. 

You can either take a photo or quick video and post it on the day of the festival or edit your video/photo at home and post by 31 October.

Diwali in New Zealand

Watch a video of highlights from Auckland's 2017 Diwali festival

The Asia New Zealand Foundation first held the Diwali festivals in 2002. They were set up to raise public awareness of traditional Indian culture, and acknowledge the contribution made by the country’s Indian communities during their long history in New Zealand.

In their first year, about 70,000 people attended the Diwali celebrations in Auckland and Wellington. Last year, more than 150,000 visited the festivals.

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