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When I started out in journalism all those decades ago, my venerable editor-publisher gave me this sage advice: “If the universe wants to destroy you, it will give you a very strong urge to start a newspaper or join a start-up in the newspaper business.”

Former Prime Minister Sir John Key holds a copy of The Indian Weekender after being told that the $100 million cricket academy story was a joke by Dev Nadkarni (Founding Editor and now Editor-at-Large).

That’s the first thought that came to me when I was invited to plan, design and lead the launch team of The Indian Weekender just over a decade ago in 2008. Ten years later, I’m very pleased to see that my late boss has been proved so very wrong – he must be too, watching the heavenly equivalent of the ticker in the great big newsroom upstairs, as this issue hits the stands.

The credit for the success of this enterprise squarely goes to the astute leadership at its helm as well as the content and sales teams: They have left no stone unturned in building and maintaining relationships with the growing Indian diaspora in Auckland and throughout New Zealand, cataloguing their successes, helping bring out their concerns and fears, successfully bringing them to the notice of lawmakers and concerned authorities.

The Indian Weekender has always believed in celebrating the successes of Kiwi-Indians in their adopted country and has steadfastly stayed positive in its outlook even while dealing with the most contentious of issues. It has taken cudgels on behalf of the community and fought hard against biases and prejudices against Kiwi-Indians.

And we’ve had a lot of fun along the way, too. For instance, a few years ago, we ran a cover story about veteran Indian cricketers starting a new $100 million cricket academy in New Zealand that had former Prime Minister Sir John Key completely flummoxed: “How come we didn’t hear about this first?” he asked. Of course, it was our April 1, All Fools Day edition!

Innovation has been at the heart of the brand’s success. The Indian Weekender went online very early in the piece, extending its reach way beyond Auckland’s and even New Zealand’s borders and within a year of its launch in March 2009, had dedicated editions for desktops, mobiles and tablets. Establishing the digital versions took us closer to the communities, putting us in communication with one another in real time.

We’ve also built meaningful alliances with leading media houses in India, getting the latest news and analyses on our social media channels. Our fresh content has given us dedicated audiences that have remained loyal and continually grown over time, delivering unmatched value to our advertisers.

As well as staying connected to our core audience, which is the Indian diaspora in New Zealand, The Indian Weekender has proudly showcased the community’s achievements to mainstream New Zealand, which has now come to recognize Kiwi-Indians as an important, increasingly visible and assertive constituency with high education and employment levels and a growing spending power.

It has been deeply satisfying for us here at The Indian Weekender to honour our best at the annual Hall of Fame Awards, undoubtedly the most high-profile event in the Kiwi-Indian calendar in New Zealand.

In recent years, the group has steadily expanded its digital offering. Our TicketBazaar digital service makes it a cinch to buy event tickets online. We are constantly looking at ways and means to harness digital technology for the benefit of the Kiwi-Indian community, without whose patronage and affection, our success would have been that much more difficult.

First appeared in The Indian Weekender dated 9/8/19