Geerten shared a moment

Geerten Lengkeek | September 2021


Celebrate Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori

Being not Kiwi-born and having arrived in Aotearoa 29 years ago, I feel privileged to introduce myself in formal settings using a mihi or pepeha in Te Reo Māori. By telling the story of who you are, where you are from, and what your connections and associations are, you create the understanding and linkages that form the relationships that lead to meaning and purpose. My Te Reo pronunciation is not great, but I speak it with humbleness and gratitude for the country that welcomed our whānau.

My māunga is the Grebbeberg, at all of 52 meters above sea level hardly a hill to many. But a mountain does not need to be tall to be of significance. The battle of the Grebbeberg was a major engagement in WWII in 1940 when the Netherlands fell to the Nazi regime. It is a few kilometers from my university town of Wageningen, where on the 5th of May 1945 in Hotel ‘De Wereld’ the war ended with the capitulation. It is also the town I met my lovely wife 35 years ago, and it is where our only siblings and their families live. Awakeri is my home, but the Grebbeberg is my māunga.

So let me celebrate Te Wiki o Te Reo Māori and share with you my entire pepeha, not just my māunga:

Tēnā koutou katoa

Ko Grebbeberg te māunga

Ko Akkerdijkse Plassen te roto

Nō Netherlands ahau

Kei Awakeri tōku kāinga ināianei

Ko Lengkeek tōku whānau

Ko Henry rāua, ko Elisabeth ōku mātua

Ko Liddy taku wahine

Ko Geerten Lengkeek tōku ingoa

Nō reira, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou, tēnā koutou katoa