Story: Migrant and refugee organisations

Polish child migrants, 1944

'Everybody tried to squeeze in as near to the rails as possible to get a better view. We saw masses of tiny, colourful houses perched on the green hills surrounding the harbour with the taller buildings of the city lower down on the flat,' wrote Krystyna Skwarko about her arrival in New Zealand as a child. In November 1944, after a month of sea travel, 733 Polish children, mostly orphans or with only one surviving parent, arrived on a troopship for a new life. They were taken to a military camp in Pahīatua, and later transferred to foster homes and boarding schools all over New Zealand. Watch this 1944 government film clip of the young Polish migrants arriving in Wellington.


Using this item

Archives New Zealand - Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga
Reference: Story of 700 Polish Children. National Film Unit, 1966

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How to cite this page:

Mark Derby, 'Migrant and refugee organisations - Refugee organisations', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 7 December 2023)

Story by Mark Derby, published 5 May 2011, reviewed & revised 22 May 2018