This 1944 newsreel documents arrivals at a Wellington wharf from the Middle East: New Zealand soldiers and Polish children. For the refugees it was the conclusion of an epic wartime survival tale: an exodus from Poland via Siberian labour camps, to being greeted by Prime Minister Peter Fraser in NZ. The Poles then take the train past waving crowds to their new home: a camp in Pahīatua. Twenty years later the children were revisited in Kathleen O’Brien’s classic 1966 documentary The Story of Seven-Hundred Polish Children.
I want to say a few words to our friends the New Zealand soldiers, who have been so wonderfully kind to us on this ship. We shall never forget it, and may the good Lord bless you and your dear ones.– A Polish refugee on arrival in Wellington
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