Venkat Raman –
Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae said that New Zealanders who contribute positively to the progress of the country deserve to be recognised and applauded.
Speaking at an Investiture Ceremony held at Government House in Auckland on May 7, 2015, he said that the Nation took pride in such persons and that they enriched the values of our society.
He honoured fourteen people representing varied ethnicities as a part of the Queen’s New Year Honours List announced on December 31, 2014.
Ethnic Communities Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-liga was present at the ceremony.
Among them were former Labour MP and current elected member of the Otara-Papatoetoe Local Board Ross Robertson, who received the Queen’s Service Order and Raman Ranchhod, who was presented with the Queen’s Gold Medal (QSM).
As Governor-General, Sir Jerry has the authority on behalf of the Queen to hold an Investiture for her, and to confer the decorations and medals to recipients. The Investiture ceremonies are held in Wellington and Auckland on more than two occasions with limited numbers to allow for interaction between the Crown and Award winners.
Raman Ranchhod is an honest citizen and a distinguished member of the Indian community, with a string of credits and philanthropic affinity. He lived in Wellington for 53 years during which he was associated with several charitable projects.
Mr Ranchhod has been a philanthropist with a deep commitment to community welfare. The Wellington Indian Association, which his late father Rama Ranchhod established with his peers, had the benefit of his services for several years. His commitment and support were central to the purchase of a community hall, now called, ‘Bharat Bhavan,’ a major venue for Indian festivals and programmes.
Over the years, he has helped scores of new and young migrants from India to resettle with emotional and financial support. Deeply religious, Mr Ranchhod has a sound knowledge of the rites and rituals. He has conducted several Hindu weddings in New Zealand. A Justice of the Peace, he makes his services available to everyone at all times.
The most outstanding attribute of Mr Ranchhod is the establishment of the Ranchhod Foundation in 2011, which works towards the betterment of humankind, undertaking charity work, and offering solace and comfort to those in need in New Zealand and India.
Through his guidance, the Foundation provides monetary assistance to medical organisations offering voluntary medical treatment, and opportunities in education, health and welfare to the disadvantaged.
The Foundation constructed the ‘Laduben Ranchhod Urban Hospital’ in Navsari, Gujarat, the birthplace of Mr Ranchhod. The Medical Centre provides several medical services free of cost to people in rural areas.
Among the other beneficiaries are the Starship Children’s Hospital, At Heart New Zealand, CBM Foundation of New Zealand, a rural hospital in Tanzania and a number of villages in India.
Sir Jerry Mateparae honouring Raman Ranchhod with a QSM on May 7