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".
There was nobody I could turn to so it was like a dog putting its tail under and walking out, feeling very sheepish, very foolish and...unwanted.– Magan Ranchhod MNZM on being rejected from a Pukekohe barber's shop when he was young, for being an Indian Kiwi