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Founding member of the Polish Heritage of Otago and Southland Charitable Trust Cecylia Klobukowska has been awarded the Knight's Cross of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland.
Since migrating to New Zealand with her husband, Wojciech, and two children in 1986, Mrs Klobukowska has been an advocate for Polish heritage and culture in Otago.
''I receive this on behalf of all the Polish trust members, because what has been achieved in the past 20 years, it would not be possible without the help of everyone.''
The Polish ambassador to New Zealand, Zbigniew Gniatkowski, was on hand to bestow the award.
''When I first visited Dunedin about four years ago and was taken to the Polish cemetery at Allanton and I realised how dedicated the heritage group are and how much work they have put into recognising those early settlers.''
Created in 1974, the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland is awarded to people who have rendered great service to Poland.
It is granted to people of other nationalities as well as Poles who live in other countries.