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Sarawak Brooke Connection

Anthony's Story continued

1912 - 1919
1919 - 1939
1939 - 1940
1941 - 1945
1945 - 1946
1946 - 1951
Reflections on Brooke Rule
1951 - 1970
1970 - present
Visiting Sarawak 1983 &1991

Meeting Gita

Findhorn served as the base for my continuing travels throughout the next five years, when I met my future wife, Gita, in Sweden December 1970.

Gita was born in Denmark (1931), the daughter of a Lutheran minister serving in Vriddhachalam, Tamil Nadu (Southern India), where she spent the first years of her life as the only 'white' child in the village. Her first language was Tamil. Here her Christian name, Birgitte, became Gita.

Gita as a child in India

Since 1963 Gita, with her then husband, Douglas Keiller, had lived in the ancestral home of the Keiller family in the archipelago south of Goteborg. Their large home has functioned as a temporary base for such teachers as Maharishi Mahesh Yogi and His Holiness the Karmapa (with 15 Lamas), and meetings and seminars were regularly organized for visiting speakers who wished to share their spiritual or philosophical thoughts with others. On each of my return visits such meetings were arranged for me also.

His Holiness the Karmapa at Govik

Lamas at Govik during the visit of His Holiness the Karmapa

In 1975 we felt that there was sufficient mutual spiritual understanding between the three of us to found the Peace through Unity Trust, with the Keiller ancestral home, Govik, as its base. However, real problems arose when Douglas became a wholehearted supporter of the 'I Am' movement and wanted Govik for its base in Sweden. When Gita declined to join the movement it became very clear that her days at Govik were over.

In 1978 Gita and I embarked upon a lengthy (10-year) period of world travel, in the course of which we confirmed our partnership with a marriage (in Juarez) in 1982.

For a period between 1980 and 1984 we were based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, between our travels, and finally we settled in New Zealand, March 1988, as residents.

The view from our house in Santa Fe

Meeting with Sri Chimnoy runners in Santa Fe

Throughout our time of travel, my sister, Lady Anne Bryant (wife of the English historian, Sir Arthur Bryant) provided us with a base in London at her Kensington flat, periodically giving us a deeply appreciated sense of 'home', and when our traveling finally came to a halt, she generously gave us most of the Sarawak memorabilia now contained in what we call 'the Sarawak room' in our Wanganui home.

Lady Anne Bryant

New Zealand Years

After we were granted residency by the New Zealand Government in 1987, our way of life and mode of work changed drastically, and our traveling - apart from the Sarawak visit - came almost to a halt. The work of Peace through Unity now continued from our turn-of-the-century house, called 'Te Rangi', here in Wanganui, a small beautiful city by the Whanganui River inlet, about 2 hours drive north from Wellington, the capital of New Zealand.

The Whanganui River as seen from Te Rangi

So, after years of constant movement we could now gather our few scattered belongings in one place and begin the process of making our house into a home where we can welcome friends and return - in some measure - the hospitality we had been enjoying. With a permanent anchor point my beloved wife and tireless partner, Gita, and myself have been able to participate in the work of groups within New Zealand and the Wanganui community; initiate and find local support for Peace through Unity projects and activities, while also cooperating with international co-workers.

Reading the Wanganui Chronicle in the sitting room at Te Rangi

From the first years at Te Rangi, marvelling over the garden

The verandah at Te Rangi where so many gatherings take place

Gita and I have now lived here for almost 20 years, and we still give daily thanks for this home of ours within a community and a country we have come to love deeply.

But although feeling so blessed to have a place of our own, we shall never forget the hand of friendship from people we met in all the countries we visited, opening their hearts and homes or dwelling places to us. The generosity, courage and ingenuity of the human spirit will overcome all tyranny, hardship and corrupt behaviour. They showed us that beyond all the many differences in expression, Life is one and indivisible. Everywhere we went there was a keen sense of 'the coming in' of something more meaningful and beautiful.

The Brooke motto: Dum Spiro Spero - while I breathe I hope - is a sentiment both of us have taken to heart and aspire to express in all we do. Abang Haji Zaine's translation of the motto is: HOPE WHILE BREATH IS DRAWN.

To me, this is God's eternal promise to His creation as it labours to fulfill His purpose.

With Gita in the Sarawak Room, Te Rangi, Wanganui


Anthony and Gita Brooke email :