.+64 3 477 5552
Select Page

POHOS chairpersons report 2008

 Polish Heritage Trust of Otago and Southland

Chairperson’s Report 2008

On behalf of the Board, I am pleased to present the Annual Report on the activities of the Trust


This year the Polish Heritage Trust of Otago and Southland celebrates a decade of its commendable results. We were formed in 1998 and grew out of Otago’s 150th anniversary celebrations. We can proudly say that Trust’s main aims of fostering of Otago and Southland and New Zealand awareness of Polish heritage and protecting material legacy of the early Polish settlement in our region had been achieved through consistent programmes of historical and genealogical character and educational research, publications, public lectures, seminars, talks and cultural activities. The Trust has played an instrumental role in organising 14 exhibitions, 5 of them at the Otago Settlers Museum. Two of the latter toured New Zealand in 2005 and 2006 and then went on to Poland in 2007. This was possible due to a wonderful cooperation and goodwill on both sides of the Globe and was the direct result of hard and dedicated work of members of the Trust. The exhibitions were held in Poland in very prestigious museums and universities from the Baltic Sea in the north to the Tatry Mountains in the south. The exhibitions tours not only renewed historic links between Kociewie – the source of first Polish settlers in the 1870s – and Otago and Southland, but also promoted New Zealand to a wider Polish audience. Every year during the ANZAC Day we pay tribute to those who fought for freedom. Polish history and heritage are commemorated and promoted extensively, and every 3rd of May, Poland’s National Day the Polish flag flies proudly over Dunedin’s Civic Centre. Dancers from Dance Polonia group are made familiar to public at community celebrations across our southern regions. The group performed 87 times!!!! between 2000 – 2008. What a wonderful and commendable achievement. Trust’s members wearing Polish national costumes adorned many local heritage and cultural events such as Otago Anniversary Day, Go Otago Day, Dunedin Summer Festival and Oamaru Victorian Fete. Christmas, Easter, All Souls Day have become annual POHOS events, marked with traditional Polish celebrations, while dances, picnics, concerts and fund-raisers had been organised  or supported.

The old, historic Catholic Church, Mary Queen of Peace has been cherished by the Trust together with the welcoming and supporting community of Broad Bay at the Otago Peninsula. The Church was originally built by first Polish settlers in Waihola and dedicated to the great Polish Saint, St. Hyacinth in 1899. The Church was moved to its present location at Broad Bay in 1948 and re-named Mary Queen of Peace.

Many hours of hard, determined and very dedicated voluntary work of members of Polish and Broad Bay communities resulted in the church being repainted inside and outside, renovation of Stations of the Cross, installation of an informative panel on the church’s grounds and re-creation of original stained glass windows vandalised in 1960s. When the original Church’s bell was found after 50 years of missing it was professionally restored and the Bell Tower was built, which was all financed by the Trust. During recent years focus of attention has been directed on Church’s grounds where more than 1300 Daffodil bulbs were planted just beside the Church and the area behind it had been developed into a heritage rose garden where more than 70 roses were planted. A garden seat has been built so the parishioners and Broad Bay local community members can rest and enjoy the beauty of the Otago Peninsula surrounded by fragrant roses and lavender. Masses are celebrated monthly, every 3rd Sunday at 11.00am and additionally for special occasions. This year to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the Church being moved from Waihola to Broad Bay and to preserve one of this last material legacy of the early Polish settlement in New Zealand, the original, 100 years old  Church’s organs were professionally restored in October 2008. We would like to acknowledge and express our gratitude to Father Nicholas Dillion, Polish Embassy in Wellington and Mr. Ron Newton from New Zealand Organ Manufacturers for their instrumental role in making this remarkable project possible to be completed.  Father Damian Wynn – Williams, the parish priest unveiled a plaque to commemorate this wonderful event after the Sunday Mass on 16th November 2008. On the same day Father Damian Wynn-Williams also unveiled another  plaque placed on the Bell Tower acknowledging  the efforts made by the Trust and Broad Bay community in locating and restoring  of the Church’s  Bell and building the Bell’s Tower. 

During last year many interesting, challenging and definitely enjoyable and rewarding events took place.

November 2007

1st November,                   All Soul’s Day: We took part in lighting candles and praying ceremony at graves of first Polish settlers at Allanton Cemetery, then we all met at the Allanton Hall. After a light supper we watched a Video on life of first Polish settlers to Otago based memories of Mona Tood.

13th November,                 Polish Tour of Our Southern Poles from the Otago Settlers Museum:  Another very successful opening of the exhibition on Polish Emigration to New Zealand by the New Zealand Ambassador to Poland Mr. Philip Griffiths at the Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland. On behalf of the Trust the Ambassador presented a beautiful book about New Zealand to the University’s Library. 

18th November,                 University in Lublin in Poland. In his speech, the Ambassador pointed out that “ Three years ago the New Zealand Parliament unanimously adopted a resolution recognising the rich contribution which the Polish community has made to New Zealand life. At the opening of our Embassy in Warsaw in 2005, Prime Minister, Helen Clark spoke of honouring the earlier generations of Poles and New Zealanders who fought together for freedom in Europe and who in Poland case , settled in New Zealand and contributed to the development of our country. We can best build on their legacy by strengthening contacts between Poland and New Zealand for the future”.  We are very proud and grateful that the first New Zealand Ambassador to Poland was the honorary patron of the exhibition. Finally after one year the exhibition returned to New Zealand at the beginning of March 2008. We will all treasure our memories of Our Southern Poles “Grand Tour” in Poland.


25th January 2008:               We paid our respect and commemorated  recent passing of Sir Edmund Hillary, the great New Zealander who once said that “it is not the mountains that we must conquer but ourselves. We attended a memorial service held at St.Paul’s Cathedral. The poster on the occasion of Hillary’s visit to Poland and signed by him in 2004 and Sir Edmund Hillary claiming rose were on display in the cathedral during the service. The rose was planted in the rose garden of Broad Bay Church after the Sunday Mass on 17th February

February 2008

9th February:                       We took part in Dunedin Summer Festival and were performing at the Octagon wearing our national costumes.

23rd February,                   an afternoon in the country: some of us  attended a reunion in Dunback, East Otago. This was an opportunity to hear about the trip to Poland of a group of people who traveled to Poland to re-trace their ancestral heritage in 2005. Many thanks to Jenny Barnett for organising this get-together during a very sunny and hot day.

28th February:                   Visit to Dunedin by the Polish Ambassador, Lech Mastalerz and his wife Barbara. A meeting with interested members of Polish community was held at the Otago Chamber of Commerce in Burns House at Octagon. A pleasant social function with the Polish Ambassador  and his wife, Trust’s Board members, members of DCC, Otago Settlers Museum, Public Art Gallery, Dunedin Diocese and friends and members of Polish community was also  held. later in the evening.

March 2008

23rd March,             Otago Settlers Museum’s Centennial

We attended a commemorative service at First Church and wearing our traditional Polish costumes participated in a parade from the Octagon to the Otago Settlers Museum to celebrate the museum’s centennial.

April 2008

25th April,                         ANZAC Day: Members  and friends of the Trust attended the dawn parade at the Queen’s Gardens and took part in  wreath laying ceremony at 6.00am. Then they went to the Otago Settlers Museum to view We Will Remember Them display.

May 2008

3rd of May,                   Polish National Day: In recognition of this day the Polish flag was flaying in the Octagon and as has been our custom in previous years we were celebrating this occasion with a lunch at the Allanton Hall.

June – July 2008

Rena McIntyre taught Polish dances Room 4 students from Tainui Primary School during term two of the school year.  The children dressed in Polish costumes gave a very well received performance at the  Come Dance All Around the World event  at Kings and Queens Performing Arts Centre on 1st July. It was a real pleasure to see them happily dancing on a big stage.  Big thanks to Rena for her community spirit, dedication, hard work, positive attitude and willingness to teach children Polish dances.

September 2008

The Trust was very sad to pay their final respects to Shirley Homes,  Keith Clark and Hardwick Knight.  Shirley Homes was a very enthusiastic, helpful and active member of the Trust and “Dance Polonia” group. Her cheerful demeanour and willingness to help will be greatly missed. Our sincere condolences are extended to her son Steven and family. Keith Clark was a great friend and supporter of our Polish community in Dunedin. He contributed many hours of his work to many Trust’s projects and activities and specially to Broad Bay Church. Our sincere condolences are extended to Keith’s wife Patricia and family. We have attended funeral service held for Hardwick Knight from Broad Bay, a well known historian, photographer and friend of our local Polish Community. We would like to extend our sympathy to Hardwick’s partner Sally and family.

During the second half of the year we have been directing our attention to preparation to celebrate Trust’s 10th Anniversary in November when rather unexpectedly we found out   widely unknown, but how important and interesting link between the Otago region and one of the famous English writers of the 20th century, Polish born Joseph Conrad Korzeniowski through the ship named Otago and her designer, owner and first captain Angus Cameron of Port Chalmers.

After an intensive historical research and liasoning with  the Otago Settlers Museum, Port Chalmers Museum, Dunedin City Council and Polish Embassy in Wellington  the Trust played an instrumental role in bringing the international exhibition “Joseph Conrad, Twixt Land and Sea” from Poland to New Zealand. When in Dunedin the exhibition was complemented by New Zealand’s objects relating to the Otago ship, Captain Angus Cameron and Conrad’s marine hero Captain James Cook. The objects were loaned from the Otago University Library, Hocken Library, Dunedin Public Library, Otago Settlers Museum, Port Chalmers Museum and the Trust. We need to acknowledge and thank all involved in staging the exhibition at the museum for their  tremendous and very professional work and specially Sean Brosnahan, the curator of the exhibition, John Ingram, the events manager and  Tim Cornelius the designer of the exhibition.

The New Zealand’s launch of Conrad’s exhibition and 10th Anniversary of the Polish Heritage Trust of Otago and Southland exhibitions were  held at the Otago Settlers Museum in Dunedin. Lech Mastalerz, the Polish Ambassador from Wellington, and   honorary patron of the exhibition attended the opening ceremony together with Philip Griffiths, the first New Zealand Ambassador to Poland and John Roy-Wojciechowski, the Honorary Polish consul from Auckland on 7th November 2008.

The City of Dunedin was represented by Councillor Paul Hudson and Grant McDonald Acting Director of the Otago Settlers Museum and Public Art Gallery.

In recognition of Trust’s commendable and dedicated work in preserving and promoting Polish heritage of Otago and Southland as well as New Zealand, the Polish Ambassador  on behalf of the President of Poland had conferred Golden Cross of Merit of the Republic of Poland during the official opening of the exhibition to five, original founding members of the Trust: Russell Chiles, Patricia Clark , Paul Klemick ,  Mrs Cecylia Klobukowska  and Ludmila Sakowski. The Cross is one of the highest civil distinctions which is normally reserved for Polish nationals who have performed services of particular value to the State or society of Poland. The five members of the Trust joined the ranks of only a limited number of foreigners to receive the decoration and they were “deeply honoured to be among the few non-Polish nationals to receive the Golden Cross”.

At the end of the opening ceremony the following presentations took place:

To the City of Dunedin :

A gift was presented from the Governor of the Reserve Bank of Poland, Mr Slawomir Skrzypek in a form of  a set of commemorative Gold, Silver and Nordic  Gold Coins issued by the Reserve Bank of Poland/ National Bank depicting Joseph Conrad and the ship Otago.  A limited edition print of Joseph Conrad’s ship Otago by Margaret –Ann Howard was presented from  Polish Heritage Trust of Otago and Southland.

To Lech Mastalerz, the first Polish Ambassador in New Zealand  and to Philip Griffiths, the first New Zealand Ambassador to Poland :

Lech Mastalerz and Philip Griffiths were given paintings depicting Otago Harbour painted by Edward Sakowski from Polish Heritage Trust of Otago and Southland.

During November the following, free to the public events took place at the Otago Settlers Museum:

  • A screening of a movie The Shadow Line. A New Zealand premiere of the
    • British/Polish production based on Conrad’s novel of the same name describing his voyage on the ship Otago and directed by Oscar -winning Polish director Andrzej Wajda.
  • A lecture on Conrad’s literature was given by Prof. Chris Ackerley from the Otago University. 
  • Catered Lunch-time was organised with reading of some of Conrad’s works by well known artist and documentary movies producer Peter Hayden
  • Maritime historian, Ian Farquhar gave a talk about Captain Angus Cameron and the ship Otago.

We were very moved by the presence of Mary – Ann Cameron, great granddaughter of Captain Angus Cameron who specially arrived for the events. 

After the talk given by Ian Farquhar Trust donated to Port Chalmers Museum portraits of Joseph Conrad – Korzeniowski and Captain Angus Cameron painted by Ludmila Sakowski and Limited edition print of the ship Otago by Margaret – Ann Howard. The artworks will complement the relics of the ship Otago held at the museum.

At the end of the exhibition Trust presented another print of the ship Otago by Margaret-Ann Howard to Professor Dorothy Page the chairperson of the Otago Settlers Association. 

In conjunction with the Conrad exhibition, an art exhibition under the title “They followed their dreams – Angus Cameron and Joseph Conrad, two Captains of the ship Otago” was held in Nevill Studios where interesting paintings and prints of well known artists such as Laura Gregory, Ludmila Sakowski, Mark Sharma, Margaret-Ann Howard, Edward Sakowski, Lynn Taylor, Rena McIntyre, Katarzyna Miscewy and Angela Brenssell were on display.

On Friday, 28th of November we were having a Birthday Party to celebrate 10th Anniversary of the Trust at the Otago Settlers Museum. We all enjoyed immensely:

  • Polish music played on violin by Sally Howard.
  •    Dance and costumes by children from Tainui School and members of     Dance          Polonia group;
  • Polish Food;  Ludmila Sakowski talked about history of Polish cuisine and     after that  we could sample traditional Polish cakes and cookies such as     Honey cake, Mazurki, Cheesecake, Apple cake, Baba, Faworki and Plesniak;
  • A delicious Birthday Cake
  • and more readings of Conrad’s works by Peter Hayden.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank  members and friends of Polish Heritage of Otago and Southland for their continuous support, dedicated work, help and willingness to participate in our community events, specially to: Czesia Panek, Steven Homes, Jeannie and Peter Hayden, Claire McKay, Edward Sakowski, Margaret-Ann and Neil Howard, Sally Howard,  Katarzyna Miscewy, Bozena and Alfred Haug, Barbara Walsh, Schep Family, Patricia Clark, Angela Donaldson, Ula Nowostawski, Lynette Chiles, Wojciech Klobukowski, Lloyd McIntyre, Marek Tomaszkiewicz and students and teachers of Tainui Primary School.


My final vote of thanks goes to members of the Trust’s Board, to all trustees for their commitment, enthusiasm and most of all hard and diligent work, specially to:

Russell Chiles, Foundation member of the Trust and the first and still going  Secretary  who deserves a gold medal for peace talks and working with  five Chairwomen during last ten years.

Ewa Rozecka-Pollard, our reliable Treasurer.

Rena McIntyre our Polish Dancing Queen and Heart of Dance Polonia Group.

Ludmila Sakowski, Foundation Member of the Trust. Thank you Ludmila, for your support, reliability and artistic input into Trust’s events.

Mariusz Nowostawski,  our www.pohos.eu.org man who will graduate from the University of Otago with  Doctor in Philosophy in Information Science on Saturday, 13th December 2008. Congratulations on this wonderful achievement from all of us.

Paul Klemick, Foundation Member of the Trust and unquestionable expert on history of early Polish settlers to Otago and Southland.

John Roy-Wojciechowski, Foundation Member of the Trust who lives in Auckland but definitely likes blue and gold Otago colours. John represents Trust very well up north and we value and appreciate his support and reliability.

.The year 2008 was an important year. Our Trust was registered as a charity entity under the Charities Act 2005 and received a Certificate of Registration No CC31359 from the Charities Commission. This year we reflected with pride and great satisfaction on our past achievements at the same time enjoying significance of present events which took place during last twelve months.

We shall all look forward with confidence and enthusiasm into future challenges of the year 2009.

Thank you

Cecylia Klobukowska

Chairperson and Foundation Member

6th December 2008, Dunedin, New Zealand





POHOS EVENTS: Exhibitions  held 1998-2008:

1998    Past and present of Polish Heritage, Historical Exhibition, Community Art Gallery, Dunedin.

            Polish Perceptions, Art Exhibition, Otago Settlers Museum, Dunedin.

1999    100 Years Journey –  Waihola & Broad Bay, Historical Exhibition, Community Art Gallery, Dunedin.

2000    Together into New Millennium, Art Exhibition, Community Art Gallery, Dunedin.

2002    Poles Apart?, Art Exhibition, Community Art Gallery, Dunedin

2003    White and green Christmas, Cultural Exhibition, Community Art Gallery, Dunedin.

2004    From Poland to Pahiatua, Historical Exhibition, Otago Settlers Museum, Dunedin.

Destination Poland, Exhibition promoting tourism and trade  with  Poland, Community Art Gallery, Dunedin.

2006    Our Southern Poles, Historical exhibition, Otago Settlers Museum, Dunedin.

 Peninsula Heritage, Art Exhibition, Community Art Gallery, Dunedin.

2007    Egg Art, Art exhibition, Community Art Gallery, Dunedin.

The exhibitions From Poland to Pahiatua  and  Our Southern Poles were sent from Dunedin, New Zealand to Poland and  under the title The end of world – Polish Emigration to New Zealand were displayed in the following places:

Lazienki Krolewskie Museum, Warsaw April – July, 2007

Kociewie Region Museum, Starogard Gdanski, August – September, 2007

Gdansk University of Technology, Gdansk October, 2007

Jagielonian University, Krakow, November, 2007

KUL University, Lublin, January 2008


2008    Joseph Conrad Twixt Land and Sea, International Exhibition brought to New Zealand from Poland  through the initiative of the Polish Heritage of Otago and Southland Charitable Trust and with the support of the Embassy of Poland in Wellington, Otago Settlers Museum, Dunedin.


They followed their dreams- Joseph Conrad and Angus Cameron, two captains of the ship Otago, Art Exhibition, Nevill Studios, Dunedin.


            POHOS 10th Anniversary, Historical Exhibition, Otago Settlers Museum, Dunedin.


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

8 + 9 =

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.