'I call it recycling' - unusual partnership develops between Sikh community and retired Cook Islands women over sacred cloth

The Sikh temple in South Auckland is packed with worshippers coming to reflect, hear religious verses and to give their thanks every weekend.

"When the peoples are blessed with any happiness, they are coming in to offer the ramala sahib," the Supreme Sikh Society's Daljit Singh said.

Rumala sahib are beautiful fabrics, of which hundreds are offered up as altar cloths every month.

The cloths, used in religious ceremonies ranging from "a few minutes" up to several hours, are then packed away to be disposed of through burning.

The Takanini temple alone was burning around one tonne a year, releasing more than 3.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

However, a world-first partnership has been developed between the Sikh community and retired Cook Islands women.

"What we are trying to do is give it a new life, save it from burning it. I call it recycling," said Ms Teariki, of the Cook Islands Ta'okotai'anga Vainetini community group.

The Cook Islanders are thrilled to be among community groups receiving the donated fabric, although it took a while getting used to at the beginning.

"They are looking at this beautiful material that you probably wear as a ball gown and, because of the sacred nature of where it came from, cutting it seemed not a nice thing to do," the Cook Islands Development Agency New Zealand's Rouruina Emil'e-Brown said.

The Cook Island Mamas, respected elderly women, have recycled the fabric to create traditional quilting, known as tivaivai, pillowcases and bags.

Now, the Cook Islands group is organising an exhibition for October showcasing Cook Islands creative arts and incorporating material donated from the Sikh community.

The two groups have learned a lot about each other from their world-first partnership.

"We are on a journey of discovery, too. The pieces of material that are being incorporated into a very old craft its telling a new story," Ms Emil'e-Brown said.

"It's an unusual partnership but, you know what? God said whatever the colour is and the blood is, we are as one," Ms Teariki said.

Huge numbers of Ramala Sahib – beautiful fabrics – are disposed of after religious ceremonies, but now they’re being put to good use. Source: 1 NEWS



One dead, another injured after ute crash on North Otago farm

One man has died at the scene and another has been hospitalised after a fatal car crash on a North Otago farm.

Police were called to Stoneburn Road, in Waitaki, at 4.22pm today.

A 50-year-old man was killed after a ute crashed on a farm in the Dunback area.

Another person in the vehicle, a 21-year-old man, was airlifted to Dunedin Hospital.

The Serious Crash Unit and WorkSafe have been notified of the incident.

Police emergency scene
Police emergency scene Source: 1 NEWS

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Southland man hospitalised after dogs attack head, leg

A Southland man has been hospitalised after two dogs attacked his leg and head.

The incident occurred on Great North Road, Winton today.

One of the two dogs - described as rottweilers - has been caught and the other is being sought, Southern District Police said in a statement posted to Facebook.

Police say the owners of the dogs are upset over today's events and are assisting them and the council with their investigation.

The man who was attacked, suffered moderate injuries following the incident and is now in hospital.

Southland Police would like to thank the members of the public who helped the injured man before emergency services arrived.

Police are urging members of the public to call 111 if a female rottweiler is spotted in the Winton area.

Photo / iStock