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

"Married" without a proposal

"Married" without a proposal

My friend Jadwiga Nawrocka (Roman Kolodziński's wife) and I stayed with the Dodunski family in Durham Road, Inglewood. Mrs Dodunski, who was a descendant of the Polish immigrants that came to New Zealand in the 19th Century, could still speak some Polish.

One day, she said brightly in Polish: "We'll go to Inglewood and I'll buy page 176you girls some string." Being polite little girls, we didn't say anything to her, but whispered to ourselves: "What do we need string for?" Her grown son Leon took us all to Inglewood and she bought us beautiful ribbons to tie our hair. Leon then bought us each a gold signet ring. Poor Jadwiga, she only recently confessed to me that she was worried when that happened because she thought that Leon had married us and she didn't want to be married.