History was made last year for Kiwi- Srilankans and they were delighted to have their first-ever printed newspaper. The Newspaper readership was estimated at well over 8,000 and It was an amazing achievement for just over the one-year journey in an epidemic hit environment.
“Sri LankaNZ” the first-ever printed newspaper dedicated to the Sri Lankan community in New Zealand. It was a long-awaited dream of Harsha Weerakoon(founder) and he teamed up with a talented designer CJ (Charith) Ekanayake(Co-founder) and created the Sri LankaNZ.
Sri lankaNZ first started it’s website in November 2019. The printed version was sent out to the readers in March 2020. The founders Harsha and CJ have worked together to help the readers to combine with both Kiwi and Sri Lankan cultures. The contents in the newspaper are available in both English & Sinhala languages. The brand name Sri lankaNZ is a conjunction of Sri (as in ශ්රී in the Sinhala language), Lanka, and NZ. It represents all Sri Lankans living in New Zealand.
K A B Karunarathna is contributing as the editor of the newspaper and Anu Weerakoon is the media coordinator who handles the team and the contributors. The newspaper is designed by CJ Ekanayake and all the distribution is handled by Harsha Weerakoon. All the team members and writers are helping the newspaper as volunteers. Printing is done at the Stuff New Zealand – Petone premises. The newspaper is currently freely distributed over 40 outlets in New Zealand’s main cities like Auckland, Hamilton, Whanganui, Rotorua, Hastings, New Plymouth, Palmerston Hutt Valley, Nelson, Christchurch, Dunedin, and Invercargill. Most of the centers are related to the Sri Lankan community such as businesses, temples, and restaurants.
The e-paper version is available on the website(srilankanz.co.nz). The paper extends between 24 to 32 pages but the first paper got only 20 pages. Since March 2020 Sri LankaNZ has initiated 8 issues and it is printed every two months and produces 2500 copies for each edition.
Sri Lankans accept articles from different age groups. These include kids, writers, poets, educationists, medical professionals, well-being practitioners and they have contributed from the first issue. A lot of contributions have come from communities in New Zealand, Sri Lanka, and Australia to the newspaper. The newspaper caters to all age groups, it covers health and wellness, lifestyle, science, social and political, Sports & Travel, and many more. It also contains a kid’s page.
Sri LankaNZ newspaper makes and values the Sri Lankan community tradition and culture to make the feeling of home away from home. It is an excellent opportunity for Sri Lankans in New Zealand to possess this platform to express their fresh ideas and keep long-established values.