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

Polish mother

page 141

Polish mother

I was happy to be in New Zealand from the moment we arrived here. I admired the beautiful surroundings of the Polish Children's Camp in Pahiatua. There were comfortable beds to sleep in and, above all, there was enough to eat. And if I wanted more, I could line up for a second helping.

I was given an opportunity to study in a New Zealand secondary school and then obtained a good job as a typist. Then I met and married a fine New Zealand chap, and we had a happy marriage and three wonderful children. Fortunately, my husband Gerard felt very comfortable among my very large group of Polish friends. He understood what we had experienced during World War II and that it created a strong bond between us. My husband therefore understood how important it was for me to keep in touch with my Polish heritage.

The years when we were bringing up our children were very busy. We had all the responsibilities of having three children at school and we also took an active part in the Polish community. We attended the usual functions and receptions for special visitors to our community, such as bishops and priests. For a short time, we had a Polish Saturday school in Hamilton where we enrolled our children. Sadly, that time was not enough for them to learn the Polish language. My husband and I even travelled to Auckland from Hamilton to attend Polish balls. My husband made many Polish friends and so did my children, who are still in touch with some of them. My husband never complained about his Polish wife and my children never complained about their Polish mother.