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The Polish Heritage of Otago and Southland Charitable Trust (POHOS)

Established 16th November 1998
NZ Companies Office Certificate of Incorporation No 915548
Charitable Commission Registration No CC31359

Winner of Trust Power Dunedin Community Award
Heritage & Environment Section in 2001 and 2007



Chairperson’s Report for the Period Ending 31st of March 2005

Heritage & Environment Section 2001

Dear Members and friends of Polish Heritage of Otago and Southland,

The end of the year 2004, and the start to our working year, was busy for the Polish Heritage of Otago and Southland Trust. As in the previous few years, November was again the highlight of our year.
Sunday, 21st November saw the opening of the Museum exposition entitled From Poland to Pahiatua: remembering the refuge children of 1944.
The exhibition was a regional event being a part of national celebrations taking place concurrently in Christchurch, Wellington, Auckland and Pahiatua commemorating the 60th Anniversary of the arrival of the Polish children from war torn Europe. The exhibition proved popular and to date was shown at Canterbury Museum, Christchurch, and at Wairarapa Museum of Art and History, Masterton, with a great success.
On Wednesday, 24th of November 2004 we held yet another exhibition opening at the Community Art Gallery, Princes Street, entitled Tourism and Trade with Poland. The display was designed to promote Poland as a tourist destination and show the economic products which Poland and New Zealand exchange.
This year the board assisted the group of eleven members of our Trust in their trip to Poland. The main focus of the trip was the Kociewie region. For many this was the first-time trip to their ancestors’ land and Paul Klemick, who coordinated the trip, having been to that region before, had organised and interesting programme for the group. Travellers were hosted by the city of Gdansk, Starogard Gdanski, and Melanin administrators who welcomed the Kociewian descendants warmly with great pomp. The local newspapers extensively covered the visit and wrote on the history of the Polish Settlers to Otago and Southland of which there was little known in the region. Paul presented Power Point Show on the Polish migration to Otago and Southland creating a large interest in the local press and schools.
As the chair of our organization I was extremely pleased that the relations between the Trust and the cities of Gdansk, Starogard Gdanski, and in particular the region of Kociewie, as a result of this trip, have strengthened considerably and will continue to do so in the future. This friendship is very important to us and to all descendants of the early Poles of Otago and Southland.

As always in April the Trust participated in Dunedin celebrations of Anzac Day.

On Sunday 1st of May, members of the Trust, families and friends gathered at the Allanton Community Hall to celebrate the 3rd of May, The national Day of Poland, the 2nd of May, Polonia Day, and most importantly, Mona Todd’s 92nd birthday. We went along to meet Father Mark Chamberlain and pray at the Church of the Sacred Heart, where Father talked about the closing and selling of the Church. At the same time we visited the Switalla Sod Cottage in Caemarvon Street, a place which we want to save from destruction and which this year has been also a subject of our meeting and talks with Guy Williams of the New Zealand Historic Places Trust, and the owners of the cottage, Mr and Mrs John McGregor.

This year a collection of the books has been donated to the Trust from the library of the former Balclutha family doctor, Stanislaw Muller, who died at his Balclutha home on June 27 2004. The collection includes 145 books in English and 04 books in Polish. They have been catalogued by Ula and are being stored at Marek & Nan Tomaszkiewicz’s house.

On the 12th of August Cecylia and I, on invitation of the Christchurch Polish Association, travelled to Christchurch for the opening of the exhibition “From Poland to Pahiatua” curated by the Dunedin Otago Settler Museum and augmented by the Canterbury Museum. The exhibition was prepared with the help of the Christchurch Polish Association. On 6 September we also assisted Czesia’s talk based on her family life with Power Point Show at the same venue.

On 2 November the Trust members gathered at the Allanton cemetery to celebrate All Souls Day followed by a supper at the Allanton Hall.

On 20 November the Trust and Dance Polonia group participated in the Oamaru Victorian Fete. It was a very nice and successful day. We were offered comments of the highest praise, “being the highlight of the day”, and ‘making the day so special for Oamaru” being just some of them.

On 27 November the Trust is organising a Rose Garden Fair dedicated to fundraising for the maintenance of the Mary, Queen of Peace church and the Old Heritage Rose Garden at the back of the church. The highlight of the day would be the launch of “Marta and the Manger Straw – A Christmas Tradition from Poland”, a book written by an American author of Polish origin, Victoria Kroll, and illustrated by a Dunedin artist and illustrator, Robyn Belton. Robin will be signing the books and selling Christmas cards and prints based on her original illustrations for the book. The fair will offer also for sale, plants, baking, antique china, Czesia’s handmade Christmas paper decorations. Other attractions such as a sausage sizzle, selling of plants, crafts and others would be offered too. Credit must go to the members of the committee, particularly the principal organiser, Cecylia Klobukowska, Rena McIntyre and Jenny Hayden. As every year a huge credit goes also to Russell Chiles who worked unstintingly as our secretary to ensure the smooth running of the Trust.
I am offering special farewell and best wishes to Ula Nowostawski who is stepping down from the board this year to dedicate her ‘spare’ time to motherhood. Thank you Ula for your always warm, serene and positive attitude, your dedication contributing to our good work, you lovely smiles and sense of humour. All the best to you and your family’s future. I hope that we will still be able to keep in touch and welcome you back when you are ready.

Finally I would like to stress that this year, as indeed in the previous ones, the Trust has been actively working on preservation of the Mary, Queen of Peace church, and on saving the church from its, as we have been told imminent closure and subsequent sale. We have written a letter to the Bishop, Colin Campbell, to which we attached a portfolio of the full history of the church as well as the comprehensive financial statement with the profile of the work the Polish Heritage of Otago and Southland has invested Into the church’s spiritual and physical maintenance.

Dance Polonia

Special thanks should go this year again to Dance Polonia group, chiefly to Rena McIntyre, Ania and Piotr Pater. Big thanks to every dancer and the children for their consistent work, ongoing commitment and a wonderful contribution to promoting our culture throughout the year. This year the group performed eight times, making the total number of all performances seventy. This is a huge effort and accomplishment!

I would like to thank everybody on the board and all members of the Trust for their time given during the year, their commitment and hard work contributing to another successful year.

Ludmila Sakowski

Polish Heritage of Otago and Southland Charitable Trust


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.