GOPIO Botany organised a seminar on the 20th of August, 2015, in conjunction with Mission Heights Primary School, in order to identify the key challenges of parenting in the 21st century. The presenter, Prakash Grover, was joined by guest speakers and a panel of members that were available to answer any questions.
The main points raised were:
- The importance of the digital world and technology in today’s world
- Child fixations with computers and video games
- The time constraints involved in the lives of busy parents
- A lack of communication and social interaction between families (mainly due to the over-emphasis on technology and time constraints)
- The increasing prevalence of mental health problems with children
- Cultural aspects: 1) The shift from children growing up with extended families in the past to growing up with only nuclear families today, and 2) The challenge of traditional beliefs about discipline with the current rights of children
The seminar was attended by approximately 50 people, mainly parents, and was greatly received by the audience, some of which had travelled far and wide from within the Auckland region. Mr Grover ended with highlighting traditional Indian views of parenting and urged the audience to understand the difference between control and collaboration,, while appreciating and encouraging their individual differences.
Violence Free Homes: GOPIO NZ’s response
GOPIO NZ held a forum in Auckland on the 23rd of November, 2014, in order to find culturally appropriate solutions to address the problem of domestic violence. The aims were to:
- Raise awareness of domestic violence and acknowledge that it is an issue of concern
- Identify the different forms of domestic violence present in our society (child, spouse, senior and physical vs psychological)
- Explore the factors that may contribute to its prevalence
The organising committee was heartened with the response and over 60 people attended the forum from various parts of New Zealand. The participants included GOPIO NZ members, university students, community leaders and researchers, representatives from services with a focus on domestic violence, and representatives from government agencies, such as Office of Ethnic Affairs, Families Commission, NZ Police and Race Relations Commissioner.
Following discussion, the key points that were identified were:
- There is a general acceptance of the fact that domestic violence is an issue for our community and we can no longer deny its prevalence.
- Domestic violence is a ‘learned’ behaviour and therefore, it can be unlearned. Every effort should be made to understand the ‘triggers’ to encourage the ‘unlearning process of this behaviour’.
- Although in majority the victims of domestic violence are women and children, it is not a gender specific issue.
- There is a need for a focus on intervention and prevention simultaneously. It is not a matter of one or the other.
- A call from the group to ask government to address the current imbalance of investment in intervention and
- There is already a considerable amount of good work happening in the community that needs to be strengthened and expanded.
- Our approach and response to prevent violence needs to be multi-layer and multi-facet, as well as in different contexts.
- There is a need for ongoing investigation for evidence of what works.
- There need for a coordinated and collaborative approach to maximise expertise and resources.
As a group it was decided that it would be a great starting point for members from various agencies to set up a multi-organisational lobby group, which would meet at least once a year to track progress on our action plan, and gradually become the voice of the Indian community in the incidence of domestic violence.
Mind over Matter
GOPIO NZ organised a health seminar on the 18th August 2013 at Mission Height Primary School, Flatbush. The topic was ‘Mind over Matter’ with keynote speaker Dr Kantilal Kanji highlighting the relationship between obesity and health problems. He also spoke about how to care for your body and the crucial connection between the mind, spirit, and body.
Family Violence and the Justice System
On the 6th of November 2012, an informative seminar organised by GOPIO NZ Inc and Bhartiya Samaj was held at the Bhartiya Samaj hall. The speaker was Hon Judge Ajit Singh and the issues of increasing family violence in the community were highlighted. He also gave information on how victims may access the New Zealand justice system.
On the 11th July, 2011, GOPIO NZ, together with Bhartiya Samaj, organised an interactive meeting with Dr Parmatma Saran from USA, at Bharatiya Samaj hall in Auckland, New Zealand. Dr Saran talked about financial literacy and Indian immigrants globally.