Members of the Muslim community gathered at Parliament on Tuesday 6 September to celebrate the Islamic festival of Eid ul-Fitr (Eid).
The Minister for Ethnic Affairs, Hekia Parata, hosted the celebrations in the Banquet Hall at Parliament and was joined by the Minister of Immigration, Jonathan Coleman and other Members of Parliament.
Eid-ul Fitr is a festival of feasts, celebrated by Muslims all over the world when the fasting month of Ramadan is completed.
The audience was addressed by the President of the Federation of Islamic Associations of New Zealand, Dr Anwar-ul Ghani.
There are around 36,000 Muslims in New Zealand. Most are based in Auckland and are of Fijian-Indian extraction belonging to the Sunni sect, a statement from the Office of Ethnic Affairs said.
In addition to immigrants from India, Africa and the Middle East there are around 1000 Māori and 1000 Pacific peoples who identified themselves as Muslim in the 2006 Census.
The Director of the Office of Ethnic Affairs, Mervin Singham says Eid is a great opportunity to recognise Muslims as an integral and growing part of our society.
“Having a strong and proactive Muslim community in New Zealand has paid economic dividends, particularly in relation to halal industries, which are worth billions of dollars.
Building on the halal meat and dairy trade, work is now being done to find ways to develop halal tourism – that is making New Zealand tourist friendly to those wanting to know they can find halal food when they visit other countries.”