In this Asia Downunder story, reporter Bharat Jamnadas meets members of the Pukekohe Indian Association who are celebrating the 50th anniversary of Nehru Hall, the first New Zealand hall built to serve an Indian community. Since 1953 it has hosted meetings and cultural events. Early Indian immigrants in Franklin experienced bigotry and racism as Pākehā farmers — supported by the local press — promoted a "White New Zealand" ideology, even banning immigrants from shops. Community leader Magan Ranchhod describes Nehru Hall as being "big in the minds and hearts of the people who built it".
History shows that things were not easy for those early Indian families and I have to say I am always ashamed when I hear the stories of some of the obstacles that you had to overcome...– Franklin Mayor Heather Maloney addresses members of the Indian Association on the 50th anniversary of Nehru Hall
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