The Báb is honoured at Parliament Buildings
More than 170 guests and Bahá’ís gathered in the dignified setting of the Grand Hall and the Legislative Council Chamber in New Zealand’s Parliament Buildings on Tuesday 22 October to celebrate the bicentenary of the Birth of the Báb.
The purpose of the celebration was to mark the bicentenary at the national level and share its significance with leading figures in national life.
Members of Parliament, members of the diplomatic corps, heads of government agencies, business leaders, academics, religious leaders and representatives from NGOs were among those gathered for an uplifting programme which was preceded by an optional viewing of the film Dawn of the Light in the Beehive Theatrette.
After refreshments in the Grand Hall, the blowing of a conch shell called the guests into the Legislative Council Chamber where the formal programme was held. Guests were greeted by all nine members of the National Spiritual Assembly, keynote speaker Dame Robin White, and the choir and dancers. A welcome by the Chairperson of the National Assembly, Mr Vahid Qualls, was followed by a welcome by our parliamentary host, Ms Priyanca Radhakrishnan MP, who shared some beautiful thoughts and reflections on the importance of the bicentenary and her appreciation of what Bahá'ís contribute to the community.
At the front of the Chamber hung a large work of art, “Suka Siti” (Sugar City), created by artist Dame Robin White and two Fijian collaborators, Leba Toki and Bale Jione. After beautiful devotions sung by the choir, Dame Robin described the inspiration for the masi (tapa cloth) which features the 19 terraces on Mount Carmel with the Shrine of the Báb located at the centre of the 4m by 2.5m artwork. Her talk wove together the role of the Báb, as the Gate, with the symbolism of the various elements of the artwork.
Large banners displayed for the guests to view, informed them of key principles of the Faith.
Other parts of the programme included a song performed by Sonbol Taefi and Grant Hindin Miller, readings from the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh, and a stirring Tongan faiva (dance).
After the formal programme, refreshments were offered in the Grand Hall, including delicious Persian delicacies, and many conversations took place about the lives of the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh and how They inspire the Bahá'í community throughout the world in their endeavours to transform communities and society.
Featured photo: National Spiritual Assembly members, Dame Robin White, and Tongan dance performers stand in welcome of guests at the commencement of the programme.
A gallery of photos taken at the event appears below. Click on photos to enlarge them.