Who were "Pahiatua's Children"? The Emigration Museum in Gdynia invites secondary school teachers to participation in the contest for the best 45-minute lesson plan on the history of Polish children who found refuge in New Zealand during World War II. As part of the project, 1900 schools all over Poland will receive copies of the book New Zealand's First Refugees – Pahiatua's Polish Children published by the Gdynia museum.
In 1944, at the invitation of Prime Minister Peter Fraser 733 Polish children arrived in New Zealand. Most of them were orphans who had gone through the ordeal of deportation deep into the USSR. They were taken care of and provided with decent living conditions and education in the Polish language in the small town of Pahiatua. The Polish flag was flown over the "Little Poland". Polish children were the first refugees received by New Zealand.
The hospitality of the people of New Zealand and their concern for the exiled children is a prevailing feature of the memories of "Pahiatua's Children". Their accounts can be found in the book New Zealand's First Refugees – Pahiatua's Polish Children edited by Stanisław Manterys, one of the inhabitants of the camp. In connection with the fact that the Emigration Museum reissued the book, we announce a contest for secondary school teachers.
In order to take part in the contest it is necessary to prepare a 45-minute lesson plan on the history of "Pahiatua's children" and to conduct the classes with the students. The aim of the contest is to get the students of secondary schools familiar not only with the history of "Little Poland" in Pahiatua, but also with the topic of the evacuation of Polish prisoners after 1941 and its route, including, among others, Iran and India.
The author of the best plan will be awarded with a two-day trip to Gdynia for his or her class, fully organized and paid for by the organizers of the contest. The trip will include accommodation, transportation, meals and a visit at the museum, where the class will take part in an educational programme prepared especially for the occasion.
Contest applications must be sent by mail until 14th April 2017 to the Emigration Museum in Gdynia, address: ul. Polska 1, 81 – 339 Gdynia, with a note "Pahiatua's Children".
Details of the contest can be found in the Regulation.
The "Two Homelands" project has been financed by PZU Foundation and PKO Bank Polski Foundation.