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New Zealand's First Refugees: Pahiatua's Polish Children


page 18

The circumstances of the Polish refugee children's arrival in New Zealand are very far removed from the normal experience of the average citizen in a peaceful country such as New Zealand. Here is a brief historical background of the children's origins – a turbulent history of invasions, betrayals and persecutions that has moulded the Polish character, and which cannot be understood without that context. It goes some way towards explaining the children's deep attachment to the language, faith and culture of their lost homeland. For more information, the very readable Heart of Europe: A Short History of Poland by Norman Davies is recommended.