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
Chairperson’s Report for the Period Ending 31st of March 2015
On behalf of the Board, I am pleased to present the Annual Report on the activities of the Trust that took place during the last year. These activities benefited communities in New Zealand and in Poland in many ways while we were working steadily towards achieving POHOS’s objectives.
This year the following major events took place:
- 10th Anniversary of Poland joining European Union, May 2014.
- Polish Trails in New Zealand – unveiling Joseph Conrad’s plaque at Toitu, Otago Settlers Museum, June 2014
- Unveiling a commemorative plaque acknowledging early Polish settlers from Kociewie region in New Zealand in Starogard Gdanski, Poland, September 2014.
- Margaret Ann Howard’s artwork depicting the Polish Heritage of New Zealand were presented to the New Zealand Embassy to Poland in Warsaw, The Polish Senate/Upper House in Warsaw, the Museum of Emigration in Gdynia, the Kociewie Region Museum n Starogard Gdanski, the New Zealand Parliament, and the Polish Embassy in Wellingtn, September – October 2014.
- Celebrating the 70th anniversary of thr arrival of Pahiatua Children, November 2014.
A talk was given to 55 Year 10 students of Columba College about the economic system in Poland inApril 2014 and the Polish language was taught as a part of the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme on a weekly basis.
In September 2014, the Trust was very actively involved in advocating Dunedin’s bid to become the “World City of :literature”, a status awarded to the City by UNESCO.
Preserving Polish heritage:
Work in progress in the preservation of the old historic Church, Mary Queen of Peace, build by the first settlers to Otago and Southland in the XIX century, and maintenance of the rose garden at Broad Bay on the Otago Peninsula. In April 2014 we were celebrating Canonization of Pope John Paul II at Broad Bay Church Service with Bishop Len Boyle. In May 2014 we were observing Polish National Day with Polish and EU flags flying from the Civic Centre at Octagon and Toitu Otago Settlers Museum.
In December 2014, an unforgettable Christmas Carol service was held at Mary Queen of Peace Church at Broad Bay on the Otago Peninsula where members of the local Polish and wider Dunedin communities sang Christmas Carrols together in many languages.
Further co-operation and integration:
We would like to acknowledge the wonderful support and constructive co-operation we have received from:
- Polish Embassy in Wellington and especially from former and current Polish Ambassadors, Beta Stoczynska and Zbigniew Gniatkowski.
- Honorary Polish Consul for South Island and honorary member of POHOS, Winsome Dormer of Christchurch.
- New Zealand Embassy in Warsaw, Poland and especially from the New Zealand Ambassador to Poland, Wendy Hinton.
Their efforts to strengthen and integrate our southern Poles in Otago and Southland, and helping to promote knowledge about our Polish heritage under the Southern Cross of Pacific in Poland are commendable.
We appreciate our participation in the Federation of Polish Organisations in New Zealand (FPONZ). Establishing a common platform of communication among representatives of Polish organisations from Christchurch, Wellington, Hamilton, Auckland and Dunedin is a very important step towards further integration of Polish communities in New Zealand.
The Trust is a Member of the Otago Settlers Association and co-operates with the Southern Heritage Trust, Taieri Historical Society and Port Chalmers Historical Society. We value it very highly.
I would like to thank all members and friends of the Polish Heritage of Otago and Southland here in New Zealand and in Poland, and especially to:
Czesia Panek, Bozena and Alfred Haug, Schep Family, Katarzyna Miscewy, Dominika and Kuba Kochan, Beata and Grzegorz Peckowski, Margaret Ann Howard, Robin Belton, Philippa Keaney, Maribeth Mitchel, Steven Holmes, Therese and Mark Sharma, Markus Turner, Sam Neil and Ania Kowalewski. Jennifer Evans, Sean Brosnahan and Kristen Glengarry from Toitu, Otago Settlers Museum Ann Barsby from Southern Heritage Trust
Andrzej Blazynski, Director of Kociewie Museum Region in Starogard Gdanski, Poland.
Special thanks to:
Past and current Polish Ambassadors to New Zealand, Beata Stoczynska and Zbigniew Gniatkowski, Honorary Polish Consul for South Island, Windsome Dormer and to the New Zealand Ambassador to Poland, Wendy Hinton, for their positive encouragement and looking after our small Polish community down south.
our Board Members, very happy and proud parents Monika and Chris Gamble on the arrival of their daughter Nina, and Chris and Gemma Dzikiewicz on the arrival of their son Niko.
This year was also a very challenging and testing year for some of the POHOS Board members and friends of the Polish community. Our sincere condolences go to families of late:
- Neil Howard, husband of Margaret Ann Howard, Neil was a big friend and supporter of our Otago – Polish family
- Wojciech Sumowski, father of Anna McCreath Munro. He belonged to the vanishing generation of great and brave Poles who were fighting during the Second World War.
- Angela Donaldson, who was a descendant of early Polish settlers to Otago, Pedowski family. Angela was a POHOS Board Member and a past Chairperson from 2002-2004
- Russell Chiles who was a descendant of the early Polish Settlers to Otago, Halba-Anis family. He was the Founding Member of thr Trust and its long standing Secretary from 1998 – 2015. For his work on preserving the Polish Heritage in New Zealand, Russell was awarded the Gold Cross of Merit of the Republic of Poland by the President of Poland in 2008. Russell was a pillar of strength and support for all of us and we are missing his unquestionable loyalty, integrity and dedication to the Trust and everything Polish very much.
- Wojciech Klobukowski, my Dear Husband who was my “Stand by me Man” during 29 years of encounters with everything Red and White in New Zealand 1986 – 2015.
May They Rest in Peace – Minute of silence is observed by all present
On behalf of the Board I would like to acknowledge Board Member families for their unquestionable support and understanding. Our sincere thanks go to ou Gemma Dzikiewicz, Chris Gamble, Keith Rozecki-Pollard, Corren Munro and Graham Bain.
My final vote of thanks goes to thr current POHOS Trustees: Deputy Chairperson, Krzysztof Dziekiewicz; Secretary, Anna McCreath Munro; Treasurer, Ewa Rozecka-Pollard; Board members: Paul Klemick, Carolina Meikle, Monika Wrukowska Gamble, Lisa Warrington. It has been an honour and privilege to be part of the Board dedicated to the Polish Heritage of Otago and Southland.
I am very proud of the Trust’s considerable achievements and its well deserved recognition in New Zealand and in Poland. This is the result of hrd, dedicated, conscientious, and what is most important, voluntary work of member of the Board, and tremendous local community support and goodwill.
As the saying goes that “He aha te mea nui o tea o? He tangata! He Tangata! He tangata!
What is the most important thng in the wor;d? It is people! It is people! It is people!“
We look forward, with confidence and optimism, to the year 2016.
Cecylia Klobukowska, M.Com (Economics), Dip Grad (Accounting)
Gold Cross of Merit (Poland)
Chairperson and Founding Member
18th December 2015, Dunedin, New Zealand