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


The Polish Children's Camp in Pahiatua was the very first humanitarian experiment by the New Zealand Government in assisting a large group of refugees to this country. It was not so much a deliberate immigration policy, but rather a humanitarian vision by Prime Minister Peter Fraser when he learnt of the Polish children's plight when they were in the temporary refugee camps in Iran. These letters reveal that he and his government always regarded the children as their guests.

The first letter is dated almost a year before the children's arrival and the second was written five years later in the year before the camp's closure. The New Zealand Government had no precedent to follow other than its willingness to give it a go.