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


As in the case of the Polish Boys' Hostel, it was Father John Kavanagh, the Polish children's legal guardian, who found a suitable property (a beautiful mansion and extensive former home of the Hope-Gibbons family) for setting up the Polish Girls' Hostel. Part of the cost was covered by the Catholic Bishops' Curia and the rest by the New Zealand Government.

On 8 December 1947, Queen's Drive in Lyall Bay, Wellington, became the location for the Polish Girls' Hostel for the next 10 years – a home for Polish working girls and school girls. Father Kavanagh stayed for a few days in the empty hostel, then Sister Brennan and two senior girls (Helena Nawrocka and Henryka Nasarzewska) moved in. The home soon began to fill up.