POHOS chairpersons report 1999
Polish Heritage of Otago and Southland Charitable Trust
First Annual Report – July 1998 to December 1999
In 1998 the Polish community of Dunedin was privileged to take part in the celebration of 150 years of the Province. It gave us an opportunity to research history of Polish immigration to this area from early pioneers to post 1980 including the post WW2 immigration. It was an opportunity for all three groups of Polish immigrants to unite and we established the Polish Heritage Trust. We managed to connect Polish communities in the whole of New Zealand. Organising Euro-Fest and participating in the multi-ethnic parade was a chance to work and share our culture with other ethnic groups and the indigenous people of New Zealand.
Two exhibitions were held where we presented cultural achievements of our artists and historical knowledge about Polish immigration to New Zealand. A Polish performing group from Wellington gave a two-hour concert in the Glenroy Auditorium. In addition, Hills AM Radio station ran a short presentation of Polish music and history and a classical concert was staged in the Public Art Gallery. The concert was performed by Jan Tawroszewicz and Terence Dennis. The guest speaker was Maria Van der Linden, a writer who gave an extremely interesting overview of the history of Polish emigration during WW2.
Two church masses were celebrated during the week-long event. One was in Broad Bay, celebrated by Bishop Boyle. The second mass as in Allanton and was celebrated in Polish by Fr. Zenon Broniarczyk from Wellington. Approximately 2500 people attended the week-long event.
During the celebration week we were honoured by a number of distinguished guests including Sukhi Turner – Mayor of Dunedin, Andrzej Soltisinski – Polish Attache, Bishop Boyle of Dunedin, Ann Turvey – DCC councillor and Alan MacDonald – Secretary of the National Multiethnic Council.
We wouldn’t have been able to create this celebration without financial support from the DCC, Creative New Zealand, Community Trust of Otago, Lottery Grants and assistance from Cooke-Howlison Toyota and Citybus. Help from the management of the Art Gallery and the Early Settlers Museum was extremely generous and enable us to stage an art exhibition, an historical display and a classical concert. Performers, such as Jan Tawroszewicz, Gladys Hope, Terence Dennis and the Polish Performing Group “Lublin” from Wellington performed that free of charge.
“Star” magazine, ODT, and Channel 9 coverage were wonderful and very much appreciated. Of course, we cannot forget the friendly staff from DCC: Jennifer Lapham, Jo Register, Lloyd Edwards and Marilyn Anderson from the Event Shop.
I would like to say a big thank you Dunedin, for giving our community this wonderful opportunity to create the event and sharing with us this unforgettable journey in our lives and inspiring us to further unite our community, because the 1998 celebration was only the beginning.
In March 1999 our community pulled all resources and participated in the Dunedin festival parade, presenting the wining float titled “Harvest Celebration”. We won $2000 and 3 trophies. In May there was the celebration of 100 years of Waihola’s, St. Hyacinth Church. This celebration culminated in unveiling of a commemorative plaque in the Allanton Cemetery and an historical panel beside the Church in Broad Bay.
To prepare the church for celebration we employed a team from the correction centre to clear the section. We were proud to support their positive input in the community. A team of men from our Trust painted the church outside and the original church bell was found and returned to its place. Members of our Trust renovated the Stations of the Cross.
An historical display in the Community Art Gallery depicted 100 years journey of the church from Waihola to Broad Bay. A lot of visitors remarked how interesting the exhibits were. At the same time, an excellent concert by Terence Dennis and his students marked the anniversary of Chopin’s death and was a cultural delight for the performers and us.
Our evening dinner was again a culinary feast served by University of Otago catering staff, but the most enjoyable was a get together with the Broad Bay and Waverly community. Our guest speaker was Fr. Smeltz. We had a good performance from a dancing group and of course the tireless humour of MC Patrick Bell highlighted this social event.
In October, an evening gathering with supper took us on a journey to Poland, as experienced by Patricia and Keith Clark, with their excellent video production. The same month our Trust was represented in New Plymouth and we shared with their community our experience in promoting and historical awareness of our culture. Trust members introduced aspects of our culture and history to children in local schools and communities of Dunedin.
We celebrated last Easter by painting eggs and sharing the traditional Easter table. We remembered All Soul’s Day in November by gathering in the Allanton Cemetery with Fr. Maloney saying prayers and lighting candles.
To finish our busy year, we went back to where our pioneers first were – to Waihola and placed an historical panel in the Waihola Doman. It was a very uplifting and moving moment for our whole community. I hope it also gave local people a reason to be proud of the historical value of their place in the broader New Zealand community. Reaching out to the Waihola community, I believe, was a symbolic momentum in our Trust’s achievements. In December we hosted a distinguished guest – the Bishop of Lomza who, with the Bishop of Dunedin, Fr. Broniarczyk and Fr. Maloney, celebrated mass in the Broad Bay Church.
At present, negotiations are in progress with Otago University History department in co-operation between the Trust and the University on historical research. We are deliberating to establish from our subscription fees an undergraduate scholarship, or an award based locally at the Otago University. I hope this will encourage young people to participate in historical research on Polish immigration to NZ.
We are slowly progressing with establishing a dance group and I am sure we will be more motivated by the Creative Communities Grant, which has been given to us again this year. We had an excellent response from the DCC on changing the church sign in Broad Bay. It is now bigger and more visible. Raffled dolls and other prizes created by artistic members of our Trust greatly supported our funds. We produced four newsletter, which I hope were interesting and informative and we welcome comments and your input. We are still awaiting news from the Lottery Grant on funds allocations to be able to replace the stained glass windows in the Broad Bay Church.
As a group we worked extremely enthusiastically though the year and we have got great achievements, which will last, and we should be proud of, congratulation to all. Again, we wouldn’t be able to achieve all this without the support of our families, children and local communities of Dunedin, Waihola, Broad Bay, and Allanton. Without help of local organisations like DCC, Events Centre, Creative Communities, Lottery Grants – to name a few, and without support of the Bishop of Dunedin, Fr. Maloney and Fr. McGettigan – a big Thank You to all of you.
About the year 2000 – it is going to be a busy one again, new plans and things to achieve. We will start with an art exhibition in the Community Art Gallery entitled “Into the new Millennium”, from 2nd to 8th of January 2000. We will again need all your support and we will see you there.
The Polish Heritage of Otago & Southland Charitable Trust
Chairperson ..... Ewa Rozecka-Pollard
Phone ......+64 3 477 5552
Secretary ..... Anna McCreath Munro
Phone ..... +64 3 464 0053
facebook ..... Poles Down South