President Report October 2020

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Tēnā koutou katoa, hello everyone, hello everyone, as promised here is the English translation of my report. 

At the time of writing this is ‘Te Wiki o te Reo Māori’ or Maori language week. I’m trying to learn a little bit and homeschooling my kids during lockdown certainly helped with that. I also try to teach my children Dutch by speaking Dutch to them as much as possible. That is not easy if you are married to a Kiwi and the children mainly speak English. Our oldest can understand Dutch very well and if I am consistent with our youngest then she can understand it quite well. Unfortunately what you hear a lot is also the case with us … the oldest can still use my mother tongue, but with the second it is already somewhat diluted. But I’m not giving up yet, their brains are still small sponges so they still absorb a lot. The Dutch School, which teaches at Holland House every Thursday afternoon, also helps a lot. Children can go there from 3½ years old,  provided at least one of the parents speaks Dutch to them regularly. For more information, please contact Sabine ([email protected]). We have a monthly Dutch playgroup for children under that age. This is normally on the fourth Sunday of the month. For adults, weekly Dutch lessons are also held in Holland House for beginners and advanced students. For more information, please contact Jeanne-Marie. So as you can see, we also have several options to keep our language alive in New Zealand.

Fortunately we live in a very multicultural city and New Zealand officially has three languages, so it is not surprising for children to learn another language. Language also comes with a piece of culture and those are important things that we at the Dutch Club also want to keep up with.

We do this at our monthly market with Dutch delicacies and other market stalls that create a fun market atmosphere. We can have a nice chat and eat our favorite (usually fried) snacks on the spot. Unfortunately we had to skip it in September, but hopefully we’ll be back next month. Our movie night also had to be postponed and will hopefully be held on 17 October.

We also hope to hold our annual Quiz night, which was a great success last year, on October 31. The Quiz night is held in English so create a team with friends and family or come alone and join a team. More information further on in this bulletin. 

Together with Owen, the vice president of our club, I will represent the Auckland Dutch club at the ANCM (Annual National Council Meeting). It will be held in Foxton on October 17 (election day). This is an annual meeting of the Federation of New Zealand Dutch Societies. Every Dutch Club and affiliated organizations in New Zealand will be involved. One of the things we will discuss there is an ‘Orange week’ around King’s Day next year when many festivities will be held all over the country.

But before Orange Week we hope to have some other traditional Dutch celebrations first. We still hope that good old Saint Nicholas can come to us again this year. This will happen on December 5th at Holland House. Keep an eye out for the registration announcement.

The day after, December 6, we go straight to the next celebration with our annual Christmas service and Christmas lunch. We have combined these this year and they will both be held in Holland House where a Dutch Chef will offer us a delicious Dutch menu. Booking for the Christmas lunch can be done on the market or by email / phone. See the announcement in this ‘krantje’. 

These are just a few of the things that our committee deals with. Last month we had to (temporarily) say goodbye to Agnes, who has gone to the Netherlands for a year. Agnes will keep us informed of her adventure in the Netherlands. Due to personal circumstances, Levine, who was elected to our committee at the last AGM, was also unable to continue in this role. Fortunately, we have been able to ‘co-opt’ Sanne Oegema, who has already helped us in the market regularly and she is now an active committee member, welcome Sanne!

As a club we try to keep our spirits up despite the unusual current world conditions but we understand that it is not easy for everyone. Celebrating a birthday on your own, not being able to share the loss of a loved one, less or no visits after the birth of a baby and all other special events will be different at the moment. We think of all our club members who have to go through it differently this year. Please get in touch if we can make a difference in this bizarre time.

Hang in there, kia kaha, stay strong.

Colette Nicholson

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