Sinnakuddy Kandavanam Thuraisundaram is from Jaffna, Sri Lanka. He migrated to New Zealand with his family in 1984 and was accepted by the New Zealand Government under a special category that was similar to mandated refugees.
S K Thurai worked in Sri Lanka for the Royal Ceylon Navy and Sri Lankan Navy as Commander (E), Head of the Civil Engineering section. In New Zealand, he has worked as a Senior Engineer at Auckland Council for twenty five years.
He has taken an active role in helping asylum seekers, refugees and migrants in resettlement in New Zealand. He has been an advocate for diversity. In the Tamil community he has promoted language and culture. He is also Founder of NZ Tamil Senior citizens Association, Co-founder of Auckland Refugee Council, Refugee Council of NZ, Federation of Multicultural Councils of NZ. He has gained many accolades due to his dedicated tenure in voluntary services. The Auckland Multicultural Society (est. 1978) recognised his long standing contribution to the community and by awarding him the status of a ‘ Life Member’.
He possesses in-depth experience in management and governance of community organisations. He has held executive positions for several years and made significant contributions as President, Secretary and Treasurer for local and national organisations
S K Thurai’s achievement include:
- Good Citizens Award by Auckland City Council- Eastern Bays - 2000
- Age Concern Award Auckland Regional “Silver Award” for Community work – 2002
- NZ Govt. - Queen Service Medal for Community Services – 2003
- KiwiBank - Local Hero Medal Recipient for Auckland – 2010
- KiwiBank - Senior New Zealand of the Year Award – 2010
- New Zealand Federation of Multicultural Councils- Certificate of Appreciation – 2010
- Indian Community Service Association – Long Service Award -Sports for Seniors
- Life Member of Auckland Multicultural Society in 2017