Bala Beeram – from small town of India to standing for elections in Auckland


By Rekha Rajvanshi

This is the first time when an Indian descent man has been selected to contest the Kelston (Auckland) electorate for the New Zealand National Party.

Bala Beeram moved to New Zealand in 1999 and currently works as a scientific analyst for AsureQuality. He comes from a background in agriculture, his parents still working as farmers in India. Bala graduated from Bhopal University, India, with a Masters in Chemistry and worked as a chemistry teacher for a secondary school in India. He was in Sydney a few days ago, when I got an opportunity to meet him and share his interesting life journey.

Bala remembers how he used to help his parents on the farm from a very young age, also diligent in studies he was elected the head boy at his school, at St. Peter’s High.

You grew up in a small town in India, completed your education, then decided to move to New Zealand. What was your motivation?

After completing studies, I  started looking for opportunities to work overseas, I explored options in Canada, USA, Australia and New Zealand. I preferred to come to NZ as there are many opportunities here. I applied for permanent residency and got it because of my experience and skills in my area.

How was your experience in Auckland? Was it a smooth transition?

It was definitely not a smooth transition; I faced many hardships like any other migrant. Initially I could not find a job in my field of Science/Chemistry. I worked in different areas, I worked as a processing worker in Jewel of India, then worked at Tournament parking as promotional assistant, then joined Sky City as a Gaming Dealer and finally I got a job in my related field at Asurequality as a Technician. I have been working there for 12 years.

You worked earlier as a dealer in a casino, what was your experience like?

I have wonderful experience in Sky City as a dealer; sky city is an icon of Auckland. During my time at Sky City, I interacted with many different people, including several international tourists.

And now you are selected to contest the Kelston electorate for National General Election, how did that happen?

I have been a member of the National party for the last 11 years, which has helped me with my selection. During my time as a member, I have helped past candidates with campaigning, and have fundraised for the party. When I came to know that the position for the National Candidate for Kelston is vacant, I decided to apply. I went through the candidate selection process for the position. After a month at a public meeting I was sworn in as the candidate for Kelston.

How’s your election campaign going?

As soon as I was selected for the candidacy, I started meeting community leaders to learn what changes the Kelston community needs and what needs to be done to make Kelston a stronger community. I now know their requirements. So far, I have hosted two public meetings on Law and Order, and employment. I have another one planned in the month of July, with the main focus being the issues Kelston faces. I have distributed over 20,000 fliers, and have door knocked at over 5000 houses. I believe it is vital for me to reach all audiences. I have also attended several community events including Indian, Croation and African.

If you are elected, what  would you  change in the local community?

I would first increase the number of police presence in the Kelston area. Several business owners have spoken to me, stating that they need a better police presence. Kelston, is considered a low socio-economic area, therefore I would like to increase the employment opportunities, as there is concerns about unemployment there. Thirdly, I would like everyone in the Kelston area to at least achieve their NCEA level 2 certificate. Education, is one of the biggest values for me personally, I feel that every child does have the right to education. I would like to achieve this by introducing more programs that encourage parents to send their children to school, and be more involved in their school lives.

Do you have  Indian or Indian students related issues in Auckland? How would you handle them?

One of the biggest issues regarding Indian students coming to New Zealand for an education is miscommunication. Indian students are not informed of the rules regarding immigration in New Zealand, and they are often left stranded and disappointed with the results. The government is very keen on reducing this problem as it is quite serious.


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