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Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.




After its final partition, Poland ceased to exist as a separate nation. Many Poles emigrated to the United States, but only a mere dribble came to New Zealand. Some were brought with the Scandinavians and were settled near Porangahau. They did not prove popular and were regarded as useless. Others were sent to Jackson Bay. Some Poles (often described at the time as Prussians) settled on the marshland north-east of Christchurch, where they drained and cultivated difficult but productive land. Later Polish immigration was limited to Jews from the east, who with other Jews from Russia have made the fur trade their own. Others have found an occupation in the clothing trade.

In 1944, 837 non-Jewish Poles, nearly all children, were brought to New Zealand from Persia and settled at Pahiatua. Most of the children had been imprisoned in Russia and had lost one or both parents. It was intended that they should return to Poland at New Zealand expense when that country became independent again. Poland, however, remained under the control of Russia. Most of the children did not return, but were joined by parents and other relatives. Generally the newer Polish settlers in New Zealand are against the present government of their country, but their main interest is still Poland. Whether they will develop into true New Zealanders is not yet clear. Naturalisation statistics, however, show that an increasing number have decided to make this country their home.

In 1911, 113 New Zealand residents gave Poland as their place of birth. In 1945 there were 1,307, and in 1961, 2,140.

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