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 2021
On behalf of the Board, I am pleased to present my Annual Report on the activities of the Trust, having taken place during the last 12 months. These activities benefited the local and wider New Zealand communities in many ways, while we were working steadily, focusing on our Trust’s objectives, specifically:
- Enriching New Zealand society by promoting cultural and spiritual awareness of Polish heritage in New Zealand
- Supporting the maintenance of historical properties of Polish heritage in New Zealand
- Co-operation with other historical trusts and organizations
- Supporting and encouraging cultural, educational and economic links and exchanges between Poland and New Zealand
The reporting year – April 2020 to March 2021 was the most unexpected and unusual year ever not only in New Zealand but in the whole world.
COVID-19 affected everybody worldwide and our special thoughts are with all our Polish Communities members separated from their families by lockdown and suffering exceptional, unforeseen hardships.
April – May – June 2020
The COVID-19 lockdown did not stop us doing a lot of work “from home”:
Our main and considerable project, was the new POHOS website which was launched in June:
By far, the largest part of our website, is the genealogical information; it is incredible in size and depth and, all about the first Polish Settlers families, created and constantly updated by our dedicated historian/researcher, Paul Klemick, a direct descendant of these early Polish Settlers.
Dunedin City of Literature
Cecylia Klobukowska read Wislawa’s Szymborska poem ‘Possibilities’ in the original Polish and in English on the request of the Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature.
Wisława Szymborska’s poem ‘Possibilities’ the winner of the 1996 Nobel Prize in Literature writes about what she prefers – as an individual and in the world. Her poem captured the imagination of writers everywhere who contributed to the ‘Possibilities Project’.
For the second year running, POHOS who were financed and supported by the European Union in New Zealand and, the Polish Embassy in Wellington, organised an
for Senior High School Students in Otago & Southland (year 11 to 13). The competition presented the perfect opportunity for students interested in politics, diplomacy, governmental policies, and international development, etc.
This year theme was very close to eveyone’s heart:
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF A
TO THE EUROPEAN UNION
In late July, POHOS received great news from Stowarzyszenie “Wspolnota Polska”. Our proposed project for organising the celebrations for the 150th Anniversary of the Arrival of the first Polish Settlers in New Zealand had been approved and, received financial backing from the Chancellery of the Senate, as a part of the care of the Senate the Republic of Poland for Poles abroad.
The bad news was that the 1st stage of the project – creating a New Zealand wide website had to be finished to by November 2020, giving us only three months to rally all other Polish associations in NZ to create joint and individual comprehensive templates.
With countless hours of telephone conversation, ZOOM meetings with the Polish Associations and conferences with designers, the goal was achieved:
6th of August 2020
Farewell of the Polish Ambassador to NZ, Zbigniew Gniatkowski and the Polish Consul to NZ, Agnieszka Kacperska held Christchurch, was organised by The Honorary Polish Consul for South Island, Winsome Dormer. POHOS was represented by Ewa Rozecka-Pollard, Anna McCreath Munro & Cecylia Klobukowska and, a gift of a print by Margaret Ann Howard of “A Polish Settler in Waihola” was presented to the departing Ambassador and Consul.
8th of August 2020
At the DMEC, Leaders Forum, amongst 28 different groups, Ewa Rozecka-Pollard gave a presentation about POHOS. The Multi-Ethnic meeting was celebrated with music, dance performances, food, slide presentations, networking and friendship of the diverse cultures of Dunedin’s citizens.
19th – 20th of September 2020
During the final visit of the departing Polish Ambassador to Dunedin, His Excellency, unveiled a street sign with the name “POMERANIA Way” in Mosgiel and attended a church service at the Broad Bay Church. Well, at long last we have a street in Dunedin designated to acknowledging the Polish Settlers. Though the street is very short, we are happy and proud that it overlooks a railway built by our ancestors.
October – November – December 2020
20th of October 2020
The Dunedin Heritage Fund Committee Supports the continued used of the city’s key Heritage places and has approved a grant, Applied for by POHOS, to carry on restorations of the Broad Bay Church. The substantial grant of $10,000 must be matched $ for $ by a POHOS contributions.
Work inside of the church will start in the Middle of 2021 to be finished in line with the 150th Anniversary Celebrations.
Planned for November 2020 an exhibition celebrating the 210th anniversary of the birth of Fryderyk Chopin had be cancelled, due to COVID-19 and, as it turned out, we could not get the necessary displays from the Polish Embassy in Wellington nor from the Chopin Muzeum in Warsaw.
We moved the project from November to March 2021 and decided to concentrate on local, Dunedin and Otago artists. In late November and early December we sent invitations to support our fund raising art exhibition to more than 50 artists. The response was overwhelming, but more about that later.
15th of December 2020
Our Christmas Carol evening in the Queen Mary of Peace Church at Broad Bay was the usual, joyful affair,
with a lot of laughter and reflections attracting a multinational crowd from the Broad Bay community, the Polish and wider Dunedin communities.
16th of December 2020
Cecylia Klobukowska on behalf of POHOS attended the meeting in Wellington of the representatives of Polish Communities in New Zealand with the new Polish Ambassador, Grzegorz Kowal and the Polish Consul, Maksymillian Zych. Cecylia and I had the pleasure meeting Mr Zych during our ZOOM meeting with the other Polish associations in NZ while discussing preparations for the 150th Anniversary Celebrations and a new dedicated website.
January – February – March 2021
The preparation for our art exhibition “From Dunedin with Love” featuring local artists, was a full time job for the ‘art committee’ during January & February 2021. We had a fantastic response from top local artists, 50 of whom, displayed 96 pieces. The standard of work spoke for itself, when we totalled the financial results. We astonishingly sold nearly half of the artwork displayed. We received many compliments on the quality of the display and on the efficiency with which we ran the show. The feedback received from some of the artists was heartening, rewarding and very encouraging. Several of the artists asked to be considered, if POHOS takes it on again. We also had great fun at the opening night, meeting artists, the public and believe it or not, actually setting up the display despite the hours spent. Please see below some random pictures illustrating it all.
Our special acknowledgement must go to:
- Anna McCreath Munro for her extraordinary skills in setting up all the artwork within the gallery, for her tireless work involved with all the correspondence with artists, preparing invitations, flyers etc. (the list is endless)
- Alastair McLaren, Corran Munro & Keith Rozecki-Pollard for being ‘muscle men’ and working under Anna’s supervision quickly and very efficiently. We could not have done without her.
- All the volunteers helping with roster, again we could not have done without you and lastly but most importantly to
- RON ESPLIN for his help, advice and lending us the necessary hanging equipment; there wouldn’t have been an exhibition without him.
Here is a link to ODT article about the exhibition and video:
25th March 2021
DMEC at Toitu Otago Settlers Museum launched a very special book
“We are Otepoti Dunedin”
This book showcases the different cultural groups and their members who call Dunedin home.
The Polish immigrants and their histories that drove them to emigrate to NZ particularly to settle in Dunedin, feature on one of the pages of this virtual publication.
With time, a book will be printed in paper format. This was an excellent opportunity to network with other cultural groups in Dunedin.
Future projects and work in progress:
Celebrations of 150th Anniversary of the arrival of the Polish Settlers in New Zealand. The actual celebrations will take in November/December 2022. We started this large project in 2019-2020 with Stage I – designing a dedicated website and initiating the co-operation of all other Polish organisations in NZ.
- 2021 Stage II – further development of the website and defining all details for 2022.
- 2022 Stage III – organization and marketing local and nationwide celebrations.
- Repairs and renovation of Queen Mary of Peace Church at Broad Bay in readiness for the 2022 celebrations.
- The POHOS website, always a ‘work in progress’
- A Campaign to expand our membership
- March 2022 – Another fund raising Art Exhibition.
I would like to acknowledge the support we received from:
- The Toitu Otago Settlers Museum;
- The Broad Bay community and, especially Marybeth Mitchell, Bernadette Newlands and Sam Neill;
- The Polish Embassy in Wellington;
- The Honorary Polish Consul for the South Island and Honorary Member of POHOS, Winsome Dormer from Christchurch;
- Anna McCreath Munro – several years of unflagging pursuit of the DCC’s transport department at the Town Hall resulting in our own street name “Pomerania” – the region of Poland where the first settlers came from;
- All the members and friends of the Polish Heritage of Otago and Southland Trust specifically:
- Anna McCreath Munro for her tireless work as POHOS Secretary;
- Bozena Haug for the sterling work on our Facebook Page and
- Paul Klemick for his dedicated hard work on our website;
- Bernadette Newlands, Cecylia Klobukowska, Marybeth Mitchell and others for cleaning and preparing the Broad Bay Church for our monthly mass and, decorating it so well appropriately for all the other celebrations;.
- Peter Tait for maintaining and updating our website: polesdownsouth.org.nz; and,
- Lastly, but not least, a heartfelt thank you to the families of our board members, who stood by us, actively and physically helping us throughout our projects.
Finally, my great gratitude goes to the current POHOS Board members
- Secretary, Anna McCreath Munro
- Treasurer, Cecylia Klobukowska
- Carolina Meikle
- Lisa Warrington
- Ina Bercinska
- Paul Klemick
- Bozena Haug
Lisa Warrington, is stepping down from her role on the board for personal reasons. We must thank her for all her hard work and dedication throughout the years as a Board Member. We wish her all the best and hope to see her at our future events.
I am very proud of the Trust’s considerable achievements, which have been as a result of the challenging, conscientious, at times testing, and totally voluntary work, of all our Board Members and the wider Polish Community.
I look forward to the year 2021/2022.
Recipient of Gold Cross of Merit of the Republic of Poland
Chairperson, Polish Heritage of Otago and Southland Charitable Trust
4th May 2021, Dunedin New Zealand
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