Zoro Kiwis Shine Bright At Indian Newslink Awards

 PT is delighted to report that the Zoroastrian community of New Zealand shone brightly at ‘The Ninth Annual Sports, Community, Arts & Culture Awards 2023’ – which identifies, recognises and honours prominent members of the Indian and South Asian communities, across various fields for their outstanding contributions, talents and achievements. Hosted by New Zealand’s oldest and esteemed news publication – the ‘Indian Newslink’ – on 19th June, 2023, the Ninth Annual Indian Newslink Sports, Community, Arts and Culture Awards honoured over 65 persons from Auckland, Wellington, Tauranga, Hamilton, Christchurch and Dunedin.


The Zoroastrians who were awarded included Benifer Porus Irani for ‘Services to the Zoroastrian Community in Auckland’; Dr. Afrin Todywalla for ‘Services to Communities in East Auckland’; Yasmin Bhadha won an award for ‘Excellence in Powerlifting’ in the Sports Category. 66 final awardees were selected by a panel of independent judges out of a record 504 nominations for awards in various categories from across New Zealand. Over 700 people attended the event, including prominent personalities, MPs, Ministers and distinguished guests.


Benifer Porus Irani was presented the award by the leader of the National Party of New Zealand and MP – Christopher Luxon. An Auckland resident for over 25 years, Benifer is considered one of the strong pillars of our Zoroastrian Community – the ‘go-to’ person for community members in times of need. Selflessly dedicated to community service, Benifer has been earlier awarded ‘The Golden Duty Award’ for her services as a Justice of Peace. She’s also a Marriage Celebrant and officiates many marriages within and outside the Zoroastrian community. She is a volunteer for The Red Cross Society, National Heart Foundation of NZ, The Deaf Education Society and has also served at the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education. She has also been an ex-Treasurer for the Zarathushtrian Association of New Zealand (ZANZ). An extremely helpful Zarthosti especially to the youth, Benifer helps organize many social and cultural functions and youth events to fortify community unity and bonding.


Dr. Afrin Todywalla is a young Chiropractor from Auckland, dedicated to community service and to improving the lives of those around her. She was presented the award by NZ’s Minister of Statistics for the Labour Party and MP – Dr. Deborah Russell. She is about to start the new chapter of her life as the in-charge of a Chiropractic Clinic in Auckland. In addition to being a highly skilled practitioner, the dynamic Dr. Afrin also conducts a unique Bollywood-style Dance Fitness class – ‘The Bolly-X Workout Station’ to provide a fun and engaging way for the community to stay active, positive and improve their health and lifestyle. Afrin’s dedication to her community, her leadership skills, and her commitment to improving the lives of those around her made her an outstanding candidate for the esteemed, Indian Newslink’s Community Award for Services to Communities in East Auckland.

The third proud award winner that evening, was Auckland’s 18-year-old Yasmin Bhadha who won the ‘Excellence in Powerlifting’ Award in the Sports Category, and was presented the award by Winston Peters – Leader of NZ’s First Party and ex Deputy PM (2017 – 2020). Yasmin represented ‘Team New Zealand’ at the Commonwealth Powerlifting Federation Games, in Auckland, in December, 2022. Her journey to the Commonwealth Games, came after having won at many regional and national level championships in New Zealand, from the tender age of 16. Dedicated and disciplined to the core, Yasmin secured a new Commonwealth record in the under 69 kg weight class, emerging as the Best Powerlifter in the Sub-Junior category, winning 3 Gold Medals and 1 Silver Medal at the Commonwealth Games. Her wins propelled New Zealand to Number 1 position in the games. Winning for her country and the opportunity to perform against the best in the world at the young age of 18, was a dream come true.

The evening also comprised thrilling entertainment segments – with a special dance performance, ‘Salam Bollywood’, choreographed by V4U Event Management Team and its Director – Viraf Todywalla, which had the audience up on its feet in excitement. All performers consisted of Auckland Parsi Youth, from the ‘ZANZ Next Generation Team’ – the youth wing of the main ‘Zarathushtrian Association of New Zealand’.

Kudos to all our Auckland Zoros for their brilliant achievements and for keeping the Zarthosti flag flying ever so high!

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