Constructing the camp
Jock Aplin of Dannevirke recalls working on the site of the Polish Children's Camp in Pahiatua in 1942. Before the Polish children arrived, he was employed as a labourer by Gillespies, builders of Dannevirke, who worked for AV Swanson contractors of Wellington. Many subcontractors were local people who were involved in turning Pahiatua Racecourse into an internment camp for "foreign nationals".
The Pahiatua Polish Jubilee Committee on the porch of the Pahiatua Museum, 17 September 1994. The museum features many photos of the Polish community and the scale model of the camp.
Standing: (l-r) Józef Zawada, Helena Wypych (Chwieduk), Dorothy Ropiha, Elaine Perry, Marge Bentley, Jean Eddie, Don Selby, Alistair MacDougall, John Burns
Sitting: (l-r) Eugeniusz Szadkowski, Piotr Przychodźko
In 1950, it provided a temporary home for boatloads of displaced persons from war-torn Europe. Today, the land has returned to pasture and there is no sign of what used to be the camp. Only the Polish children's memorial marks the area where the camp was located.