They say there are health benefits to be had from eating an Indian curry, and that was certainly true in Raglan on Friday night last week.
About 600 people from all walks of life turned up to Raglan Four Square’s curry and culture night, to stand in a long queue for some great food and then sit down across from strangers to enjoy their meal.
The shared dinner was a real event in community building and lifted the spirits of all who attended.
About 200 people queued up for curry at any one time, the line snaking around three long tables that stretched the length of car park.
Diners also sat side by side on the grass bank, enjoying a curry and a chat with new friends.
Four Square owner-operator Satnam Bains said there were people coming and going all night, from 7.30pm to about 10pm.
“It went really well. There was a good turnout,” said Satnam, who took over the Four Square in July last year.
He and his family hosted the curry evening to give back to the community, “who have made us feel welcome”, and to share a bit of their culture.
Satnam’s mum, Shaminder Kaur, spent the day cooking enough curry – chickpea and chicken, Satnam’s favourite – and naan for 700 people, so many took home a doggy bag as well.
Shaminder was noticeably absent at the dinner, with Satnam saying she had gone home because she was tired.
But his father, Tara Singh, welcomed the many guests and helped with the serving up, while Satnan’s wife, Harshi Bains, gave henna tattoos.
“What an extraordinary thing,” said Raglan resident Richard Gemmell, who stopped for a chat in the queue after finishing his meal.
He shook his head in disbelief at the number of people flowing in and out of the car park to share a meal.
Emma Galloway said the evening restored her faith in humanity. “It was a truly generous and delicious gesture.”
Claire Bayley said the dinner was a great way to get the community together and meet new people.
“It was really well organised and really relaxed. It was the perfect time to do it, in winter.
“This family has been so supportive of the community – they support sports teams and now they have done this. It would be good to show our support back to them.”
Dave Hanna, from Ray White, said Satnam was an inspiration to the whole business community.
Ray White Raglan donated six $30 gift vouchers to the best-dressed Indian outfits on the night.
Satnam said he wanted to thank Ray White for the vouchers, Sunset Motel for giving his father a bed for the night, and the 30-40 people who stayed behind to help pack up at the end of the night.
“Next year will be bigger and better,” he promised.
*Photo Credit: Ken Hansen