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‘Between the Waters’ - 145 Years of Polish Settlement in NZ

‘Between the Waters’ - 145 years of Polish Settlement in Canterbury & NZ

“Between the Waters” programme of events will celebrate 145 years of the Polish Settlement in Canterbury and New Zealand. Presented in Christchurch and Wellington, there will be Polish history, music, dance, poetry, theatre and visual arts.

Presented will be family histories of four families that arrived in 1872 on board ‘Friedeburg’, ultimately telling the story of them all: Kotlowski, Gierszewski, Szymanski, Watembach. All of them – and hopefully more -will be represented personally during the celebrations organised by the Federation of Polish Organisations in NZ and the Event Organising Committee.

The main events are planned for Friday 6th and Saturday 7th October in Canterbury, followed by cultural event in Wellington on Saturday 14th October.

Two Polish Cultural Concerts ‘Between the Waters’ - at “The Piano, Centre for Music and the Arts” in Christchurch on Friday, 6th October and at Memorial Theatre, Victoria University on Saturday 14th October - will include Polish music, dance, poetry, theater and more:



Commemorative plaque will be officially unveiled during celebrations and, later in the year, placed at Polish Settlers Place - street named after the settlers at the Marshland subdivision in Christchurch - just meters away from the original farms of early settlers. Additionally, a historic street light, donated by Pomeranian City of Gdansk, will be placed at Polish Settlers Place together with the plaque.

The commemorations were launched on 30 August 2017, exactly 145 years after the very first Polish Settlers set foot on the New Zealand soil, with a few of descendants and their friends who gathered together in the Polish Consulate in Lyttelton.

‘Between the Waters’ tells the story of a journey of Polish families from Baltic region of Prussia – then Poland's territory - that in 1872 made Canterbury, New Zealand, their home away from home.

The ‘Friedeburg’ ship dropped anchor at 4pm at Godley Head, outside Christchurch’s Lyttelton harbour on 30 August 1872. It carried 241 “statute adults,” including nearly 100 Poles. The 53 families, 33 single men and 61 single women totaled 297 people on board, 200 older than 12 years, 82 children and, in the end, 15 infants. There were six births during the voyage. All the passengers were vaccinated. After 102 days at sea there is no doubt the ‘Friedeburg’ passengers appreciated their first few nights on land. Trains took them to Addington immigration barracks. So the life in NZ has begun…

Their story will be later on presented as an Exhibition at The Canterbury Museum in Christchurch and will run from December 2017 and March 2018.

What: Between the Waters – Polish Cultural Concert

When: Friday, 6th October 2017, 7pm

Where: The Piano Arts Hall, Armagh Street

Cost: $20 general admission. Tickets via eventfinda


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