'Present' for Polish community

Standing in front of the 120-year-old  Mary Queen of Peace Church in Broad Bay  are (from left)...
Standing in front of the 120-year-old Mary Queen of Peace Church in Broad Bay are (from left) Polish Heritage of Otago and Southland Charitable Trust founding member Cecylia Klobukowska , councillor and churchgoer Christine Garey, trust chairwoman Ewa Rozecka-Pollard and congregation member Bernadette Newlands. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
In a welcome "birthday present" to Dunedin's Polish community, two names recognising the city's Polish settlers will be added to Dunedin's road registry.

Dunedin city councillors voted to add the names "Pomerania" and "Polish Settlers" to the road registry earlier this week, at an infrastructure services and network committee meeting.

The timing coincides with the 120th birthday of the Mary Queen of Peace Church, in Broad Bay.

Opened on April 16, 1899, it was originally named after St Hyacinth.

The church was moved from Waihola to its present location after a decision from the Catholic diocese, and renamed, in 1948.

Polish Heritage of Otago and Southland Charitable Trust founding member Cecylia Klobukowska and trust chairwoman Ewa Rozecka-Pollard said they viewed the road naming as a birthday gift from the council.

The registry contains pre-approved names for property developers to use on new subdivisions.

"I think naming a road will be wonderful, because we are part of Otago settlers' history, like Chinese, or Scottish or Irish settlers," Mrs Klobukowska said."We would like to see it actually happen."

Getting some road names to recognise Polish history had been in the works for a long time.

Initially the council only envisaged the names for the Mosgiel-Taieri Plain, an area many Polish settlers gravitated to.

However, council committee members at Monday's meeting decided the scope should be expanded to recognise the wider Dunedin area.

The decision has to be ratified at a council meeting.

Polish settlers began arriving in the South Island in the 1870s.

Mrs Klubowska said about 40 Polish families originally arrived in Port Chalmers and most went on to settle in the Waihola and Allanton areas. Many of them were from northern Poland and were Catholic.

The church at Broad Bay was particularly special, because there was not much tangible evidence of Polish settlement in the Otago area, Mrs Klobukowska said.

An Easter Mass would be held there tomorrow at 10am with Bishop Michael Dooley officiating. The honorary Polish consul to the South Island, Winsome Dormer, would also be present.

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