The film Doco is screened for fundraising

Pahiatua Polish children’s camp in 1945. Photo / New Zealand Archives.

A connection between Pahiatua and a Polish town and its connection to Ukraine is one of the things behind a fundraiser for the war-torn country.

The township of Tararua once took in hundreds of Polish children who were orphaned during World War II.

A film, Overcoming Fate, was released in 2015 by award-winning director Marek Lechowicz.

It documents the story of these children who were deported to Siberia and Kazakhstan before being invited by the New Zealand government in 1944 to stay until the end of the war.

According to a history on the Wellington City Council website, 733 children came with 105 carers and settled in a camp in Pahiatua.

Many of these children remained in New Zealand.

The film used archival footage and material filmed in New Zealand and Poland and was going to be screened at Pahiatua and Dannevirke cinemas as a fundraiser for Ukraine.

Mayor of Tararua, Tracey Collis: Everyone wants to help Ukraine in one way or another.  Photo/NZME
Mayor of Tararua, Tracey Collis: Everyone wants to help Ukraine in one way or another. Photo/NZME

Tararua District Council Mayor Tracey Collis said Pahiatua has a twin town in Poland called Kasimierz Dolny.

She said the city supports the women and children of Ukraine.

Someone from Pahiatua was in communication with one of the professors in town.

“Everyone wants to help in some way, but how do you do that?” Collis said.

She said it would be great to support the city that Pahiatua had a relationship with.

“So we know it’s supported directly. In a roundabout way, it’s exactly the same as what New Zealand did and what Pahiatua did in Poland. Which was a really cool story. “

The film will be screened at Regent Pahiatua on June 4 and 5 and at Regent Dannevirke on June 11.

“It’s a great way to support and show theaters to people,” Collis said.

There was also a photographic collection that accompanied the Polish children’s tales and she thought these could be placed in the foyers of each of the theatres.

The council was also holding an online auction, which would open on June 13 and some of the items on offer would come from Poland.

People could also learn about the history of Polish Pahiatua children with a virtual tour of the children’s camp site and explore the history and culture projected at the museum.

Collis said the visit would be through Digital Spaces, a coworking facility in Woodville that provided access to computers and Wifi for small businesses.

She said they would shoot a video and create a virtual tour that people could pay to take, similar to what Pukaha/Mt Bruce presented earlier this year.

The site of the former Polish children's camp, 2 km south of Pahiatua, where a memorial now stands.  Photo/Mark Mitchell
The site of the former Polish children’s camp, 2 km south of Pahiatua, where a memorial now stands. Photo/Mark Mitchell

A memorial to Polish children now stands at a rest area south of Pahiatua on National Road 2, near where the camp was.

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