Gertrud Gligor was brought up in Brasov, Romania - known mostly for Count Dracula's castle. She spent most of her life living in an industrial area in the city. She felt safe playing in the streets but remembers day to day life being very grey and uninspiring. Her favourite times were going to the countryside to visit family on holidays. After the Cold War, when all the life was sucked from the country, Gerti fled with her parents and brother as refugees to Germany.

Gerti’s family spent the next 2 years moving around refugee camps and sharing communal apartments with other families. She didn’t care about not having any privacy due to everyone living in the same room - she was just happy to be with her family. After 2 years they moved to their own apartment where her mother and father still live today. At eight years old Gerti was a new girl in Erlangen, Germany - in a neighbourhood full of other refugees.

Thankfully Gerti spoke German as her mother was brought up in a German settler community in Romania. Gerti had been to schools which had preserved their heritage. Even her name Gertrud is an old German name, which her mother and her grandmother were named, so fitting in at school was easy. Gerti loved living where she did. All the cultures of her new neighbourhood fascinated her, as did the traditions from the oriental parts of the world.

Gerti loved to dance. She started ballet as a small child but her family couldn’t afford for her to continue when she moved to Germany. She didn’t dance for a few years until she could pay for her own classes. Her Afghan friends introduced her to Bollywood movies - Gerti got right into their dance style. She also loved classic Indian temple dancing and Latin dance, “I loved the expression and the ecstatic feeling of freedom it gave me.”

After completing her high school years she studied a bachelor degree in social economics with her masters in marketing. She really wanted to study oriental culture but her parents were strict about not supporting that. Unfortunately for Gerti, at the time she was studying at university, it wasn’t free like it was when she completed her degrees.

Gerti had a traveller’s blood flowing through her veins from her ancestors. As soon as she could she was off to travel the world. She felt free. Gerti travelled to Sydney, Australia to work an internship at Siemens - a big German corporate company. She was there for 9 months before deciding to go back to Germany for 2 weeks. Next she headed to Istanbul for the oriental culture she’d been craving after having made many Turkish friends.“I just love travelling, hearing people’s stories and exploring how people live. I don’t really plan, I go with the flow.”

Reluctantly Gerti got real and conformed to climbing the career ladder back in Germany. She eventually became a director of digital marketing in an advertising agency but the world was again calling Gerti. New Zealand was her next destination.


Here in NZ Gerti is a freelancer in digital marketing - She works from The Workshop and is also one of our bubbly Community Connectors. This gives her the freedom to explore our tourism. Her long term plan is to return to Romania for the most part of the year, as she loves the country and believes the people are so hospitable. She wants to create a business to help improve their tourism industry and also wants to help charities to improve their general living standards for the elderly and orphans. It was never a plan to study social economics but like the other parts of Gerti’s life puzzle, it’s all starting to make sense as to why she walked the path she did.

“My parents fought for my freedom and I should be taking advantage of this freedom, right?” states Gerti powerfully.

Gerti loves working at The Workshop and of course loves the connection with people in this communal homely shared space. We love having her bubbly positive and caring vibe around. Her smoothies are the best.

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