Message from our President...
Kia ora and Welcome to the new online and official home of the West Indian and Caribbean Society (WICS) New Zealand. Here you will find a portal to the heart of our organisation’s mission to support the social and cultural advancement of Caribbean nationals living and working in New Zealand.
It is my great honour to have been appointed to the position of President of our Society. As the President, I am committed to providing our members and the broader community with the utmost service and dedication, and to ensuring the bright future of the West Indian and Caribbean Society.
The West Indian and Caribbean Society, Incorporated has long upheld the key principles of cultural heritage and identity, social integration and an aspiration of significant national prominence. Our 47 year old Society still operates because of the great work of those in the past who have given their invaluable time and dedication that now provides us with a great base for our ongoing work and initiatives.
The Society is planning to build on past successes and mark the fact that the Caribbean population is an established and growing segment of Aotearoa New Zealand. Clearly, with the beaches, the water, the greenery and the relaxed way of life, we are a natural fit! What we particularly want to do is promote our community’s contributions to our adopted country, and showcase our talent to the wider society.
I am honoured to have the chance to serve and be President of the Society for the 2014-2015 year.
Through innovation, cooperation, and determination, may we continue to advance our cause of love and compassionate service to all those in need.
West Indian and Caribbean Society, Inc.
Our New Zealand History
In 1967, a comment was made by Mike Mustor that most Ethnic Groups residing in New Zealand e.g. Irish, Indian etc, had a Society operating, but we West Indians did not. This was the beginning of an idea to form our own Society.
On a cold, dreary winter Sunday afternoon, a group of us got together and we wrote down the names of all of The West Indians that we knew of, who were living in, not New Zealand, but Auckland, and we came with over 1000, While most of these West Indians\were from Barbados, there were also Jamaicans, Trinidadians, Dominicans and there were also a few from Bequia.This we felt was more than enough to justify the formation of a Society.
A lawyer, Mr. Ian McHardy, was approached to advise us on the formation of an Incorporated Society. This was duly done and all the necessary forms and procedures were delivered to us.
The 1st requirement was a need for 15 persons to indicate whether they had an interest in forming a Society. To this end, a meeting was held at the residence of Mr Colin Mustor in Valley Rd, Mt Eden. A steering committee was elected; the forms were filled in and signed by the 15 persons required.
Mr. McHardy was again approached and he offered to draw up a constitution for the Society. That constitution is still in use today. On 27th October 1967 The West Indian Society was registered as an Incorporated Society, and the Society was born.
At the first annual general meeting, elected were:
With the formation of the Society, funds raising started in earnest. While we had a few get together in private home initially, the first Hall Social was held at Highbury, with a band called “The Harbour Lights” and that was a major success financially.
From there the society progressed and the committee decided to publish a quarterly magazine, which was called “Caribbean Kiwi ”. Copies of these magazines are held in the Alexander Turnbull Library in Wellington. VIEW LINK! – Caribbean Kiwi Vol. 1. No. 1 1968
These magazines contained news of the lives of West Indians, weddings, births, obituaries, social activities etc.
In the early 1970’s, the Society entered its first Cricket Team in the Auckland Cricket Association Competitions, The first Cricket Captain was Carl Greenidge, and the Society had 3 teams playing in the Competition. During this time, Vic Martin was our most successful captain, leading us to victory on many occasions.
In 1975, a group of musicians got together and started a band called “Baje”, this band played calypso music and was instrumental in attracting up to 400 people at the Societies Dances. On some occasions, this music was recorded and is still in existence today.
Later on the Society Sponsored families of members into New Zealand, and today they are still here. As well, we were able to assist families with their financial problems and any debts were always repaid.
After being in existence for 47 years we can only hope that the West Indian and Caribbean Society will continue to thrive and continue to serve its’ people.