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Warmth of Welcome: Poles Apart Documentary Special Screening


Thu 10 Oct 2019, 5:30pm–7:30pm

Where: Tūranga Central Library, 60 Cathedral Square, Christchurch

Restrictions: All Ages

Ticket Information:

  • General Admission (free): $0.00
  • Additional fees may apply

Held as part of the 2019 Beca Heritage Festival, this screening of a 2004 documentary "Poles Apart" commemorates the 75th anniversary of the Polish Children's arrival. The film catches up with a group of Pahiatua Children, mostly those living in Christchurch and the South Island, 60 years after their arrival in New Zealand.

They recount their harrowing journey through Siberia, central Asia and Persia, a warm welcome they received on arrival in New Zealand, and share the stories of life they made here.

Invited by Rt Hon Peter Fraser to enjoy a safe haven in New Zealand during World War II, on 31 October 1944 over 800 Polish war refugees, most of them orphaned children, sailed into the Wellington Harbour on the USS General Randall. They settled in the Polish Children’s Camp in Pahiatua. When at the end of WW2 Poland was placed under Stalin's Communist rule, most of the children accepted the offer to become New Zealand citizens.

Doors open 5.30 p.m., the screening will start at 6.00 p.m. and will be followed by a conversation with the film's producer Alina Suchanski who is also the author of "Alone", an account of Tony Leparowski's life. Tony, a Pahiatua Child who also features in "Poles Apart", passed away in 2012.

Free entry, but booking is required.

Copies of the "Poles Apart" DVD and the book "Alone" will be available to purchase on the night ($35, cash only).

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