• Faithful to my Homeland, the Republic of Poland
  • NEWS

  • 24 August 2018

    Polish President Andrzej Duda thanked compatriots for keeping Poland in their hearts, at the meetings with the Polish diaspora in Auckland and Wellington. First Lady visited the Polish Heritage Trust Museum and met with teachers of Polish schools.

    According to the President, thanks to wise policies, Poland can become attractive and bring people back to the country.


    During the meeting at the Polish House in Auckland, on Wednesday 22 August 2018, the President encouraged his compatriots to return to the country. Poland is really developing at the moment, Andrzej Duda said.


    I believe in it and everywhere I go, I try to say that my compatriots will come back, there are 20 million of us around the world, outside Poland, and if we all came back, there would be almost 60 million people living in our country (...) We would be a power on a European scale, President noted.


    The head of state added that maybe one day Poland will be so attractive that everyone will want to return. I believe that thanks to wise policies, to the good handling of Polish affairs, this will happen.


    The Polish President pointed out that the Polish diaspora is a very precious part of the national community. According to him, opinions about Poland and Poles in New Zealand are excellent. He thanked them for their attitude while living abroad, as well as for their active participation in cultural activities.


    During a meeting with the Polish diaspora in Auckland, the President awarded John Roy-Wojciechowski with the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland, for outstanding contributions to the popularisation of Polish history and for his activities in promoting Polish culture.


    He also decorated Kazimierz Jasica and Jacek Pawłowski with the Knight's Cross of the Order of Polonia Restituta for encouraging Polish culture and shaping patriotic attitudes.


    The Polish President awarded the Golden Cross of Merit distinction to Wanda Lepionka and Roberto Rabel. They were decorated for their roles in the development of Polish-New Zealand cultural and academic cooperation, respectively.


    Polish President Andrzej Duda met representatives of the Polish Children of Pahiatua on Thursday, 23 August, a group of 733 Polish war refugees resettled to New Zealand as children in 1944.


    The President, who has been on a trip to Australia and New Zealand, said the meeting with the Polish Children of Pahiatua, held in the capital of Wellington, crowns our visit here, in the Antipodes, and is the culminating moment for me.


    The head of state thanked the group for keeping Poland in the hearts ever since childhood, for so many decades. Despite coming to New Zealand many years ago, Poland and Polishness is in you all the time, he added, you have passed it on to your children, you are passing it on to your grandchildren, and for this I am immensely grateful.


    Andrzej Duda also thanked the Polish Pahiatua community for providing support, including accommodation in New Zealand, for compatriots who fought Poland's Soviet-installed communist regime.


    Moreover, the President said, the group has been making a beautiful testament for Poland here, in New Zealand and the mother country, now fully sovereign, is respected here precisely thanks to you, thanks to who you are as people.


    Earlier that day, the President attended the opening of 'Polskie Dzieci Square' (Polish Children Square) in Wellington and laid flowers at a memorial to the children located at the Wellington Waterfront. The Square is a new place on the map of New Zealand capital city and has been made possible thanks to the efforts of the Polish Embassy and the local Polish Community.


    The Polish head of state decorated representatives of the Polish Children of Pahiatua with high distinctions. Among the decorated are Zdzisław Lepionka, Krystyna Tomaszyk and Józef Zawada.


    Additionally, during the meeting in Wellington, the President of the Polish Ex-Servicemen Association in New Zealand,Marian Ceregra, presented the President with the Polish flag from Monte Cassino battle, where Polish and New Zealand troops fought as brothers in arms.


    - Poles came to New Zealand - and those whose 145th anniversary of arrival we celebrated last year, and those whom the Soviets threw from their own homes and sent from labour camps to the Siberian forests - they were always faithful to Poland; they were patriots, they were good Poles. And although they embraced the citizenship of this hospitable country, they never forgot their first beloved and dear fatherland - said Marian Ceregra.


    The First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda visited the Polish Heritage Trust Museum in Auckland, where she met with teachers from Polish schools in New Zealand.


    The First Lady was greeted and taken for a tour of the Museum by its founder, former Polish Honorary Consul in Auckland John Roy-Wojciechowski.


    The Polish Heritage Trust Museum was opened in July 2004. Among the many exhibited objects are colourful Polish regional costumes, hand-made artwork, textiles and pottery, collections of postage stamps, crystals, icons and personal souvenirs. Visitors can also learn about the history of 733 Polish children, who became known as Polish Children of Pahiatua, who in New Zealand found refuge during World War II. Currently, the Museum is managed by the daughter of John Roy-Wojciechowski, Ellen.


    The First Lady held talks with teachers from Polish schools in Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland. Agata Kornhauser-Duda, due to her professional experience, pays a lot of attention to Polish children and schoolchildren abroad. Adam Manterys, who participated in the meeting, presented the First Lady with a copy of his latest book “Polish School in New Zealand”. This year, the Polish School in Wellington celebrates its 65th anniversary.


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