Street name recognises Polish heritage

Celebrating the unveiling of Pomerania Way are (from left) Polish ambassador Zbigniew Gniatkowski...
Celebrating the unveiling of Pomerania Way are (from left) Polish ambassador Zbigniew Gniatkowski, Polish Heritage of Otago and Southland Charitable Trust chairwoman Ewa Rozecka-Pollard, Polish descendant and trust member Paul Klemick and deputy mayor Christine Garey. PHOTO: GREGOR RICHARDSON
A new street name honouring early Polish settlers to the region was unveiled in Mosgiel yesterday.

More than 20 people gathered to watch as Polish and New Zealand flags covering the street sign were taken off, revealing Pomerania Way.

The street was the culmination of two years of effort by the Polish Heritage of Otago and Southland Charitable Trust and named after the region of Pomerania in Poland from where the first Polish settlers arrived in Port Chalmers in 1872.

Many arrived in Port Chalmers in the late 1800s and settled in Waihola, East Taieri and Mosgiel.

Deputy mayor Christine Garey said the Polish community was an important part of Dunedin, which had contributed widely throughout Dunedin’s history.

"Many of these settlers lived and worked in the Taieri area, undertaking farming and settler work.

"They also helped build the new railway line across the Taieri."

Polish Heritage Trust chairwoman Ewa Rozecka-Pollard said the unveiling marked the start of preparations for the 150th anniversary of Polish settlement in 2022.

"We are going to have an exhibition at Toitu museum ... we have great things planned," she said.

The day also served as an opportunity to farewell the Polish ambassador, Zbigniew Gniatkowski, who was present at the opening but would return to Poland after six years of diplomatic service in New Zealand.

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