Polish Heritage Of Otago And Southland Heritage Trust (POHOS)

Our Trust was formed in 1998 at the time when Otago was celebrating 150 years of existence and when little was known, in New Zealand, of the early Polish pioneers. It was with the coming together, at that time, of recent immigrants and the descendants of those early settlers of 1872 that brought about the beginnings of the Polish Heritage of Otago and Southland Charitable Trust. Our aims then, as they are today, were to bring to the people of Dunedin and New Zealand awareness of our heritage and in the longer term to extend that awareness to the peoples of Poland.

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Our Local Polish History

Samuel Edward Shrimski (Szramski)

Prior to 1872 may have seen the odd Polish sailor until the 1860s gold rush drew many prospectors and a small influx of Polish Jews which set up business in Dunedin.  Samuel Edward Shrimski (1828 – 25 June 1902) became a 19th-century Member of Parliament and then a Member of the Legislative Council from Otago.

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Polish Immigration to Otago & Southland

1872 -1900 saw a period of mass migration from Poland where a majority arrived from regions under German occupation. In 1870, Vogel introduced his works scheme to build New Zealand’s infrastructure and people via Hamburg were thought to be the ideal people to carry on the works.

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Polish Woman in Otago Register for first Vote in 1893

1893 – saw an important period in New Zealands history, where women were seeking equality in literally a man’s world. It is important to note that these Polish pioneering woman went out to register and took interest in New Zealand political affairs.

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Poles Serve For New Country

The children & grandchildren of the early Polish settlers volunteered to defend their new nation and fight against their old foe Germany. This was also an extremely difficult time for settlers who had to prove their Polish identity.

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Father Esmond Louis Klimeck O. P.

The faith of the Polish is unquestionably dedicated and has always provided hope & reassurance even in the most desperate of times. To have a priest in the family was something to be extremely proud of.

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Post War & Recent Migration

Post war under communism saw increasing revolts and protests force a number of refugees to flee to New Zealand. Since Polish Solidarity in 1981 many have been coming for educational and employment purposes. Follow the last 22 years of POHOS history.

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Dunedin Polish Articles

Dunedin Southern Cemetery

The latest of many big changes of fortune in the world of a former Polish prince and patriot was marked in a ceremony at the Dunedin Southern Cemetery

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Polish Poster Art

The cultural phenomenon of Polish poster art is in Dunedin as part of a celebration of 250 years of Polish theatre.

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Polish settlement in the South Island

“Poles Down South” is celebrating 150 years of the arrival of the first Polish Settlers in New Zealand

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Community & Events In Dunedin

Art exhibition raising funds for church restoration.

Thirty-five Dunedin and Otago artists are supporting a Polish cultural group

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All Souls Day

All Souls Day at Allanton Cemetery where there are many graves of the early

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Polish roots in Dunedin NZ

If you are searching for Polish roots in Dunedin, NZ

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