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POHOS chairpersons report 2004



Heritage & Environment Section 2001

Chairpersons Report 2004

19 November 2004

Dear Members of the Polish Heritage Trust of Otago and Southland.

Another busy year has passed full of may events initiated and organised by the Trust.

The most important events of last year were;

  • Accomplishment of the conservation of the hsitoric bell and construction of the bell tower.
  • Opening of the Heritage Rose Garden at Broad Bay, behind the Mary Queen of Peace Church.  The Opening of the Heritage Rose Garden was seen as a real inspiration to the Parish and to the local area.
  • White and Green Christmas dispaly at the Community Art Gallery was an exhibition viewed by over 700 visitors.  The display was held from the 21st November until it’s closing on the 28th.  The exhibition showed side by side how New Zealand and Polish cultures celebrated Christmas, with traditionally decorated tables and Christmas trees.  The closing event on the 28th of November 2003 was Early Polish Migration to Otago & Southland power point show that was attended by over 70 members and visitors.
  • On the 31st of January 2004 the Trust said Good Bye to Father Pat Maloney who left Dunedin for Motueka and welcomed a new parish priest Father Wayne Healy.
  • It has become our tradition in the past few years to paint our own Easter Eggs so on March 28th some adults and many children got together and hand decorated Easter Eggs which were later given out to families a the Mass at Broad Bay.  On April 14th, a board member talked on “Easter Traditions in Poland” as a guest speaker at the Travellers Club, Dunedin Centre.
  • On the 29th April 2004, the Trust assisted the Otago Settlers Museum in organising a book launch by John Roy-Wojciechowski and Allan Parker entitled “A Strange Outcome, The Remarkable Survival of a Polish Child.”
  • On ANZAC Day, 25th April, as in the last few years, we took part in the Dawn Parade at Queens Gardens and lay a wreath made out of white and read flowers.
  • On May 1st which the Trust was celebrating three events: 1. Polish National Day celebrated in Poland on 3rd May. 2. Day of Polonia (Poles living abroad) which is celebrated in Poland and abroad on the 2nd May. 3. Poland with other nine countries joining the European Union on May 1st. The celebration was held at Dunedin Public Library’s Dunningham Suite.  It included international dancing and singing and was followed by a potluck supper.
  • On the 30th of June, four representatives of the Trust attended the funeral of the former Balclutha family doctor, Stanislaw Muller, a member of the Trust who died in his Balclutha home on June 27th.
  • On the 31st July the Trust organised a Settlers Dance at he Allanton Hall with a live music band, Bucharest Blues.  It was an enjoyable evening full of dance and fun.
  • Our Dance Polonia group held a Dance Workshop for all members of the trust and the public.  This was held on Sunday 8th August.  We had some members of the public attend and some went on to join our dance group.
  • A Seminar “Villages of our Ancestors from Kociewie, Poland”, incorporated with a Polish film promoting Poland as a tourist destination was held on the 9th of October.  The seminar took place at the Salmond Hall, Knox College.

Since November last year “Dance Polonia” entertained Dunedin Community 27 times and had two singing guest appearances which is quite an undertaking considering that before each event the little children had to be organised and practice regularly.  That is a great effort indeed.  I will mention just a few occasions on which earlier this year Dance Polonia entertained the public:

  • On the 11th of January at Hampden, at Colleen Dooley’s garden.  We had a Mass at the local Church in Hampden and then a picnic at Colleen’s after the dancing.
  • 13th March – Dunedin Baptist Church held international dinner at the Apostolic Church in Union Street West: Dance Polonia was one of the entertaining groups invited also to join for dinner.
  • 20th March – the Dunedin Multi Ethnic Council organised Race Unity day celebrated in all main centres.  Dance Polonia danced beautifully and was on of the biggest highlights of the day.
  • 21st March – Go Otago day at Wingatui – Dance Polonia danced in pouring rain for 20 minutes.
  • 28th March – “Pranks in the Park”, a community gala afternoon at Kew Park (also cold and wet).
  • 10th April – 150th Anniversary of the Taieri Presbyterian Church, dancing at the Taieri School grounds.

It would take a considerable time and several pages to specify all occasions and places at which our dancing group performed beautifully this year.  At this point I would like to express my thanks to all of the dancers, and Rena in particular for her effort in leading the group and especially the little ones who as we all know have not always been easy to persuade to dance, and what’s more important, smile while dancing in pouring rain and cold wind.

  • We celebrated All Soul’s and All Saints Days on November the 2nd at the Southern Cemetery where many early Polsih settlers are buried.  It was followed by a cup of tea after a the Age Concern Hall.
  • This year we have produced 100 small flags with a logo of the Polish Heritage Trust of Otago and Southland on each of the flags.  They would be sold or given away as souvenirs promoting our organisation.
  • Early in the year we began planning the celebrations of the 60th anniversary of the arrival of the Polish children from Iran in New Zealand to the Polsih Children’s camp in Pahiatua.  We approached the Settlers Museum with a proposal of a dispaly and together prepared a rich and interesting exhibition consisting of a static historical display entitled “From Poland to Pahiatua”, screening of the oringinal newsreels from 1944, a documentary “Exiles” by Halina Ogonowska Coates, followed by “Personal Reflection”, talk by Irena Coates, another talk with power point show on Czesia Panek’s life story and chidlren’s games, dance and gave away cookies at picnic time in the Queen Gardens during lunch time.
  • This year the Trust’s work on the design of the brochure promoting the Polish Heritage of Otago and Southland Trust and Polish culture in the region has been very successfully completed and a plan to have a large number of the pamphlets printed next year is under way.
  • Finally the Trust is currently preparing a plan for a group tour to Poland for the month of June 2005.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who made this year’s achievements possible especially to members of the executive, and the many others who worked very hard behind the scenes, on duty during the events, display organisers, costume makers, those who regularly cleaned the church and maintained the garden around it, those who worked hard on our website and genealogical data, public seminars and those who were always ready at hand to offer us their hand, time and energy.

Ludmila Sakowski



Chairperson .....  Ewa Rożecka Pollard
Phone ......+64 3 477 5552
Secretary ..... Anna McCreath Munro
Phone ..... +64 3 464 0053

Facebook ..... Poles Down South 

Contact Poles Down South

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Poles in New Zealand   We would like to hear from Poles or people with any Polish connection, who visited New Zealand and particularly those of you who paid a visit or lived anywhere in Otago or Southland.

Polski  “Poles Down South” jest stroną internetową organizacji polonijnej w Nowej Zelandii działającej w rejonie Otago i Southland na Wyspie Południowej. Siedzibą organizacji jest Dunedin.