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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 2023


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. 


Throughout the reporting year April 2022 to March 2023, the whole Board of POHOS, in various sub-committees, worked on several major projects including:

  • A fund raising art exhibition “From Dunedin with Love”;
  • A major refurbishment of Mary Queen of Peace Church in Broad Bay, Otago Peninsula;
  • Preparing for an exhibition and 2 weeks of events celebrating the 150th Anniversary of the arrival of the first Polish Settlers to Port Chalmers, Dunedin;
  • Supporting the writing of a book about history and lives of the first Polish Settlers.

In addition to these initiatives, we actively participated in various events hosted by other Polish associations across New Zealand.

April 2022


9th to 28th of April 2022

The shocking news on 24th of February of the full-scale invasion of sovereign Ukraine territory by Russian forces, together with the whole world, changed our fund raising focus from ourselves to helping the needs of Ukraine. The Board decided to share POHOS funds collected to help to cover the costs of the 150th Anniversary Celebration with the Ukraine war effort. The Artists fully supported us by agreeing to share their commissions and some even donated their paintings and work for the cause. The public joined us by gifting generous cash donations. I visited Poland in September 2022 and personally passed on $2,500 to a charity that helps Ukrainian people directly. Please find below the e-mail from Polskagoscinnosc.org:


Szanowna Pani,
Bardzo serdecznie dziękujemy za donację! Pierwsza jej część została już wydana na zakup żywności dla mieszkańców i mieszkanek domu dla osób starszych w ukraińskiej miejscowości Chmelniczkij. Przebywają tam uchodźcy i uchodźczynie ze wschodu Ukrainy. Wysyłam zdjęcia z zakupów i ich przekazania. Pozostałą część środków planujemy wydać na proste piece na opał, generatory lub także na żywność.
Z wyrazami szacunku,
Maria Złonkiewicz

Szanowna Pani,

Bardzo dziękujemy za wsparcie i przekazaną dotację.

Za pozostałe środki zakupiliśmy dwa generatory prądu, które zostały już przekazane do lokalnych miejsc spotkań w Kivsharivce. Tamtejsi mieszkańcy stworzyli w namiotach punkty, w których można ogrzać się, napić herbaty, naładować telefon (co ma znaczenie z powodu przerw w dostawie prądu) i otrzymać międzyludzkie wsparcie od innych. Zostało jeszcze kilkaset złotych, które przeznaczone są na leki.

Pozdrawiam bardzo serdecznie,



Exhibition ‘From Dunedin with Love’ was our third very successful event celebrating renowned Dunedin and Otago artists. This year 39 artists displayed 93 of the most beautiful pieces of work, where nearly half sold by the end of the week.

June 2022


6th of June, Community Gallery. Dunedin 

POHOS hosted a double celebration in Dunedin’s Community Gallery, firstly the official announcement of our impending Celebrations commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the arrival of the first Polish Settlers in New Zealand and the news that one of our Board Members, received a Queen’s Service Medal for services to Historic research.

Well done Paul, congratulations, we are very proud of you.

July/August 2022


July/August 2022

After nearly 2 years of financial planning and preparation, the Trust moved to the restoration of the Broad Bay Church Project.

The leaking roof over the Altar and the Sacristy was repaired and covered by new corrugated iron by Fahey & Kwiat Builders. The church’s internal walls were professionally painted by M.R. Decorating Ltd with the able assistance of a Resene Paint Consultant.

It was a huge undertaking for all of us: including POHOS, Mercy Parish, local Dunedin Polish and Broad Bay Church communities.

Many hours of voluntary work  and “together we can do it “ positive attitude helped to complete the project with stunning results, just in time for celebrating 150 years of Polish settlement in Otago & Southland in November 2022.

We would like to thank all involved and in particular:

For financial assistance to:
Mercy Parish & Father Gerard Ansley, Bishop Michael Dooley, the Bendigo Foundation and the Heritage Fund Committee of the Dunedin City Council.

For all the work associated with preparing the church for painting, cleaning up after the renovations and repairs:

      from the Broad Bay Community to: Bernadette & Mark Newlands, Jeannie and Peter Hayden, Alicia, Sergio and Carlos Biggemann, Sam Neil, Therese and Mark Sharma & Manu Berry from Bellamy’s Gallery;

      from POHOS and the wider Dunedin Polish community to: Anna McCreath Munro and Corran Munro, Bozena and Alfred Haug, Paul Klemick, Ewa, Pawel, Grzegorz and Martyna Twardowski, Wojtek Ratajski, Cecylia Klobukowska and Alastair McLaren;

For Broad Bay Church Restoration Project management to:

Cecylia Klobukowska in cooperation with Ewa Rozecka-Pollard, Bernadette Newlands and Carol Meikle.

August 2022


August 2022

A Commemorative 150th Anniversary Plaque in Christchurch 

August 30, 1872 after 102 long days at sea, Canterbury’s first Polish migrants arrived on the ’Friedeburg’ to Lyttleton.

August 28, 2022 almost 150 years to the day, descendants of those early migrants and the wider Polish Community, gathered overlooking the Lyttleton Harbour to remember and honour those brave forefathers by unveiling a commemorative plaque to mark 150 years of Polish presence in New Zealand!

POHOS was represented by Cecylia Klobukowska, Anna McCreath Munro and Corran Munro



September/October 2022


September/October 2022

The entire POHOS Board Members team, together with a number of outsiders, busied themselves in preparations for the November celebration in Dunedin. Venues were booked, exhibition panels and settlers’ families panels were finalised, posters, letters, invitations were sent, entertainment and food were negotiated. Busses lined up, a commemorative plaque ordered just to name some of the numerous tasks.

Also, meetings where held with the editor, designer and printers to progress the preparation for the historical book about the early Polish Settlers in New Zealand. This massive research work was undertaken by Paul Klemick during the last twenty years and is coming to fruition.

The book will have 15 Chapters:

The book will have 15 Chapters:

  1. Preface
  2. Foreword (Explanation  of  genesis  of  book; Sources; Secondary  literature)
  3. The Situation in Poland\
  4. Emigration
  5. Arrival in NZ
  6. Initial Occupations
  7. Homes
  8. Communities
  9. Farms
  10. Family Life in NZ
  11. Integration
  12. Religious Life
  13. Culture
  14. Health
  15. Conclusions


November/December 2022


November/December 2022


On 9th November, Paul Klemick and his guests, Paul’s mother Mrs Beverly Pringle, Anna McCreath Munro, Cecylia Klobukowska and Ewa Rozecka-Pollard attended the Southern Investiture Ceremony in Christchurch. Paul received a Queen Service Medal for services to historical research on the early Polish Settlement in New Zealand from Governor-General Dame Cindy Kiro.

We also had a chance to meet other distinguished recipients of the Queen Honours. We were proud and honoured to have been there for Paul, who was especially moved when he realised that his investiture document was signed personally by the late Queen Elizabeth II.

25th November to 6th December

Commemorations of the 150th Anniversary of the arrival of the first
Polish Settlers in Dunedin
Friday, 25th November 2022
Opening Ceremony at Public Art Gallery, Dunedin

Master of Ceremony, Anna McCreath Munro, POHOS Board Member and Secretary
Polish & New Zealand national anthems open the evening.

Anna introduced the following speakers:
-His Excellency, the Ambassador of the Republic of Poland ………….Mr Grzegorz Kowal
– A Video Message from Her Excellency, The Governor-General of New Zealand………….The Rt Honourable Dame Cindy Kiro, GNZM, QSO
-The Honorary Consul General of the Republic of Poland for the South Island…………Mrs Diane Winsome Dormer
– A Video Message from the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Poland…………….Mr Szymon vel
-the Mayor of Dunedin, ………….Mr Jules Radich
-the Chairperson of the Polish Heritage of Otago & Southland Trust (POHOS),…………Ewa Rozecka-Pollard





From the Public Art Gallery we all moved on to Community Art Gallery where the Mayor of Dunedin and the Polish Ambassador officially open our exhibition depicting historical events surrounding Polish Settlers.
There were 7 free standing panels showcasing the history of Polish presence in Otago and Southland over the last 150 years. On the walls of the gallery we displayed information and portraits of 27 families of the first arrivals on the “Palmerston” on the 6th of December 1872.
The Exhibition was lively and colourful, thanks to a display of traditional costumes from the Kociewie and Kaszuby areas in Poland and, precious artefacts lent to us from Gore Museum and some of the original settlers’ families.





Saturday, 26th November 2022 

Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, 2pm 

A lecture called “Poles Down South” was given by Paul Klemick at the auditorium in Toitu Otago Settlers Museum supported by the Power Point display showcasing daily life of the new arrivals to New Zealand.      The lecture was very well attended and much appreciated.

Toitu Otago Settlers Museum, 7:00pm 

Medal CeremonyThe Polish Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to New Zealand, Mr Grzegorz Kowal commenced the Gala Dinner procedure by hosting a very special ceremony of bestowing Odznake honorowa “Zasłużony dla Kultury Polskiej” “Honorary Medal of Merit for Polish Culture” on some very worthy recipients.

Honorary Medal of Merit for Polish Culture is awarded by the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage of the Republic of Poland to persons for distinguished contributions to Polish culture and heritage.

The recipients were:

Zdzisława Zenobia Pociecha


For her outstanding contribution in establishing the Polish Heritage of Otago & Southland Charitable Trust, as a founding member and the Trust’s first Chairperson 1998-2000. Her contribution could be described as ‘work from scratch’ – a very difficult task.
Zdzislawy enthusiasm, commitment, strong motivation, organizational skills and management skills have resulted in her constructing the foundations of the thriving and respected association, we see today. 

Anna Ida McCreath Munro

For her long standing and diligent services as the Trust’s Secretary and for her invaluable expertise and input into the many fund raising art exhibitions organized by the Trust.
Over the past 10 years, Anna has been responsible for the design and look of the art exhibitions organized by POHOS. The success of the exhibitions and the collaboration, cooperation and assistance of the artists, is unquestionably the result of Anna’s hard work, knowledge and charm.

Edward Sakowski

For his work and professional expertise in the conservation of early Polish heritage in the historic Church built by Polish Settlers in the 19th century and for his participation in many fund raising Art Exhibitions organised by the Trust.
Edward is a Renaissance man and a great ambassador of Polish art and culture. Well known and a respected art conservator, he worked on restoring damaged historic church stained glass windows, in particular, 12 old paintings depicting the Walk of the Cross and many other items.

Marek Tomaszkiewicz

For his work and professional expertise in restoring the historic Church built by Polish Settlers in the 19th century and for his participation in the Trust’s activities as a former Board Member.
Marek was responsible for the design and construction of the church belfry next to the church and as a POHOS Board member, he represented the association with the local church authorities.

 Robyn Belton

For her outstanding services in promoting Polish culture and art in New Zealand as a children’s books illustrator and, for participation in many fund raising art exhibitions organised by the Trust.
Robyn’s paintings always graced our exhibitions and the illustration of the book about a traditional Polish Christmas “Marta and the Manger Straw” were an absolute delight. Robyn also donated her talent and work to design the cover of the book “Chmielow our Paradise Lost” describing the journey to and from Siberia by Pahiatua child Czesia Panek Wierzbicka,

Bozena Misiewicz Haug

For promoting and preserving Polish heritage and culture in New Zealand through digital and social media and for her participation in the Trust’s activities as a Board Member.
Bozena plays a key role in representing POHOS on theatre and media platforms and she is fully responsible for running the Facebook page.

 Peter Mawson Tait

For promoting and preserving Polish heritage and culture in New Zealand through digital and social media.
Peter is a New Zealander living on Stewart Island. As a friend of to the Polish Community he offered his help in designing, launching and running a website for the association. His collaboration and commitment to POHOS is much more than being a ‘webmaster’. Peter actively researches information that may interest Poles, while at the same time, being of interest to the wider New Zealand community.

Toitu Otago Settlers Museum,  Saturday 26th November at 7:30pm  

The Celebratory Gala Dinner attracted many Poles and New Zealanders with close friendships and acquaintances with Poland and Polish people. We were ecstatic to host so many descendants of the original early settlers, who arrived on ships ‘Palmerston’ and ‘Friedeburg’ 150 years ago. Our celebrations were a wonderful opportunity for many family re-unions, some people coming from as far away as Australia. Everyone relaxed, enjoyed each other’s company and the excellent food prepared by our own chef Greg Peckowski accompanied by wine, courtesy of The Polish Heritage Trust.

The Polish Heritage of Otago & Southland Charitable Trust would also like like to acknowledge our special guests:

His Excellency the Ambassador of the Repulic of Poland, Mr Grzegorz Kowal
The Most Reverent Michael Dooley, Bishop of Dunedin,
Mrs Winsome Dormer, the Honorary Polish Consul for the South Island;
Mrs Christine Garey representing The Mayor and Dunedin City Council,

Representatives from other Polish Societies in NZ:

Mrs Barbara Scrivens from Auckland;
Peter Skrzynski from Wellington,
Ewa Fenn from Tauranga,
Ray Watembach from Taranaki,
Agnieszka Deneka from Christchurch
Sylvia Smiarowski from “Between the Waters” from Christchurch
John Roy-Wojciechowski, from Auckland, one of the founding members of POHOS.





Sunday,  27th November 2022 

The Anniversary Mass at the newly restored and redecorated Mary Queen of Peace Church was celebrated by the Most Reverand Michael Dooley, Bishop of Dunedin.
In the afternoon, a bus tour took descendants, families and friends around the places of significance to Polish memories and finished with beautifully prepared and served refreshments at Waihola Tavern.

On the route we were priveledged to look inside a cottage belonging originally to a Polish Settler who purchased a plot of land in Allanton around late 1870’s – Mr Pedofsky (Pedowski). The Cottage grew as the family expanded.

This Cottage had been lovingly restored by the current owners. Thank you for trusting us with the keys to the front door. 




Tuesday, 6th December 2022

On the 6th of December 1872, after a long arduous three months at sea, the first Polish Settlers were introduced to the land that, henceforth, was to be their future home. Unfortunately most of them had to spend another 3 weeks on the ship, as the facilities on Quarantine Island, where they were to depart ship, were full. They mercifully finally set foot on hard soil on Christmas Day, the 25th of December and were taken to their temporary lodgings in Dunedin. It is very incomprehensible to imagine how they felt, what they were thinking, especially having to celebrate Christmas in the full heat of summer.

The Post Chalmers Town Hall was a wonderful venue for our lunch and the official unveiling of the Commemorative Plaque, which will be displayed at Port Otago.

A very, very special thanks to The Honorary Consul, Mrs Winsome Dormer for gifting the Commemorative Plague to our Trust, acknowledging all Polish families of early settlers in Dunedin and the Otago and Southland Regions.

Many thanks to Port Otago and Carol Meikle for organising a most wonderful afternoon and all the transport throughout the 2 weeks.

The entire 2 weeks of celebrations were a great success. Each of the Board members have personally received many great comments and compliments, including e-mails with sincere thanks from a large number of attendees. I would like to thank the entire team, as we all worked very hard to manage our allocated responsibilities and beyond.
Here they are in no particular order:
1. 150 Commemorative Plaque for Port Chalmers – private donation by our Honorary Consul for the South Island, Mrs. Winsome Dormer;
2. The ‘Family’ Posters prepared by Paul, Lisa for proof reading, Ewa and Paul for Printing, Anna and Corran for designing and preparing labels and ribbons;
3. Main Panels: Ewa, Paul, Ina, for writing the contents, proof reading, cooperating with the designer, Lisa for the final check and Cecylia for working with the printers;
4. Invitations, database, emails, correspondence = Anna, she has done a gigantic job;
5. Calendars, prints, gifts, menus, cards, thanks to Cecylia’s initiative and the team of Cecylia, Anna and Ewa working on the details, design, proof reading, printing at all hours of the day and at the very last minute as well;
6. Gala Dinner: Anna, no words of praise will do justice;
7. Bus Tours and celebrations in Port Chalmers, the same amazing praise to Carol;
8. Power Point displays for the opening ceremony, the Gala Dinner & the Medal ceremony would not have happened it was not for the technical and design knowledge and skill and dedication of Nathalie;
9. Great thanks go to Bozena for her dedication and correlation of so much information in general, particularly for getting and ODT presence at our opening ceremony and being in charge of Facebook ‘Polesdownsouth’
10. The Broad Bay Community, Cecylia Klobukowska, Carol Meikle & Bernadette Newlands for planing and bringing to fruitition the Celebratory Mass in Mary Queen of Peace Church. .
Monday, 19th December 2022
The Annual Meeting of the representatives of Polish Organizations throughout New Zealand was hosted by the Ambassador, Mr Grzegorz Kowal in Wellington Club.
POHOS presented all present with commemorative Calendars specially printed for the 150th Anniversary featuring Margaret M Howard picture of a Polish Settler farming his land in Waihola.

The framed print of the painting was presented to the Polish Embassy


January 2023 


January 2023

80th Anniversary of Warsaw Ghetto Uprising

A solemn occasion to mark the 80th Anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto Uprising occurred this year. This was part of the UN International Holocaust Remembrance Day commemorations held across NZ, including Dunedin. Candles, surrounding a grey cobblestone brick from the streets of the ghetto in Warsaw, were lit. A minute of silence was observed, prayers said, stories retold of Jewish survivors and their fellow countrymen and women who hid them in their homes and, in rare occasions, had a chance to be reunited many years after the war ended. In remembering, we try to overcome the hate, prejudice, and cruelty, but it must be a united effort. Ewa Rozecki-Pollard shared the story of her mother’s work with the Polish Jewish resistance. Mrs Janina Rożecka and her mother and sister received the Righteous Among the Nations from the Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial Centre for her actions in Warsaw during WWII and the survival story of a young Jewish orphaned boy, Henry Teicher.


March 2023 


March 2023  

 20th of March 2023


Visit to Wellington
50 years of diplomatic relations 

Anna, Cecylia and I flew to Wellington to celebrate 50 years of harmonious diplomatic relations between Poland & New Zealand. The civic function was hosted by Mr Greg O’Connor, Deputy Speaker of NZ Parliament and Mr Grzegorz Kowal, Ambassador of the Republic of Poland and was held in the “The Beehive”.  Mr Wojciech Gerwel, Undersecretary of State at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Poland was in attendance.
A Little Kiwi chick was named “Pōrana”, which means Poland in the Māori language. It was a lovely gesture of friendship between our two countries.

Future projects and work in progress: 

  • In November 2023 – An exhibition and celebration of 3 important Anniversaries:
  1. 25 years of POHOS’ existence;
  2. 75 years Mary Queen of Peace Church arriving in Broad Bay; and
  3. 250 years of the first Polish nationals arriving in New Zealand with James Cook’s 2nd voyage;


  • To finalise and print the book “POLES DOWN SOUTH”
    History of  Early Polish Settlers in Otago & Southland, Aotearoa New Zealand
    for a November 2023 book launch.          .
  • The POHOS website, continuing to be a ‘work in progress’;


To cultivate close cooperation with other Polish Organisations in New Zealand as well as utilising the existing 150th website as an ongoing source of information for all.


I would like to acknowledge the support we received from:


1. The Toitu Otago Settlers Museum;
2. The Broad Bay community and, especially Marybeth Mitchell, Bernadette Newlands and Sam Neill;
3. The Polish Ambassador and the Embassy in Wellington;
4. The Honorary Polish Consul for the South Island and Honorary Member of POHOS, Winsome Dormer from Christchurch;
5. All the members and friends of the Polish Heritage of Otago & 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;
6. Bernadette Newlands, Cecylia Klobukowska, Marybeth Mitchell and others for diligently cleaning and preparing Broad Bay Church for our monthly mass and, decorating it so appropriately for all the other occasions and celebrations;
7. Peter Tait for maintaining and updating our website: polesdownsouth.org.nz; and,
8. 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
– Ina Bercinskas
– Paul Klemick
– Bozena Haug
– Nathalie Wierdak
– Lisa Warrington
I am very proud of the Trust’s considerable achievements, which have been as a result of the challenging, conscientious, and, at times testing, totally voluntary worof all our Board Members and, the wider Polish Community.
I look forward to the year 2023/2024.
Thank you,

Ewa Rozecka-Pollard
Recipient of Gold Cross of Merit of the Republic of Poland
Chairperson, Polish Heritage of Otago and Southland Charitable Trust

Dunedin, 24th April, 2023