Wellington Scoop

Polish president to inaugurate memorial to Pahiatua orphans

The first visit by a Polish President to New Zealand next week will focus on political and economic issues, while also being dedicated to engagements concerning the Polish Communities.

President Andrzej Duda and First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda will meet the Polish Community in Wellington where the Polish Head of State, in the presence of Mayor Justin Lester, will inaugurate the Polish Children – Polskie Dzieci Square. The square is to be named after the Polish Pahiatua Children (733 orphaned children who arrived in Wellington in 1944 and settled in New Zealand after the Second World War) to mark the friendship and partnership between Poland and New Zealand.

President Andrzej Duda’s two-day visit to New Zealand on August 22-23, will include meetings with Governor-General Dame Patsy Reddy, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges.

Among the political issues common to Poland and New Zealand, to be discussed during the talks are the countries’ role in the global security architecture, the situation in the South Pacific region, Russia and China policies, cooperation with the United States, the negotiated free trade agreement with the European Union, as well as climate issues in the context of the COP24 summit to be held in December in Katowice, Poland.

President Duda will also meet NZ Trade Minister David Parker and business representatives to discuss economic cooperation and investment opportunities.

The parties are expected to sign a number of bilateral agreements, including a Poland-New Zealand civil aviation agreement, as well as documents establishing academic cooperation between four universities and partnership cooperation between sister towns Pahiatua and Kazimierz Dolny.

The programme also includes the visit to the Auckland War Memorial Museum, where the President, in presence of the NZ Defence Minister Ron Mark, will lay a wreath in the Hall of Memories, and will visit the exhibition dedicated to Józef Piłsudski, founder of the Polish Republic in 1918. The exhibition is presented by the Embassy of Poland in Wellington in partnership with the Auckland Museum, in order to celebrate this year’s Centenary of Poland’s regained Independence.