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Photo of Pahiatua, and Life at the Camp | by Archives New Zealand
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Photo of Pahiatua, and Life at the Camp

This photograph shows the Pahiatua camp from above and the other images published in the Dominion on November 3 1944, show life at the camp.

Originally there was a racecourse in Pahiatua, which was turned into internment camp for “foreign nationals”. Later on it was specially adopted for the arrival of the Polish children. The New Zealand government took responsibility for the accommodation and camp equipment. However, the administration was mainly controlled by Polish personnel and funded by the Polish Government in Exile, based in London. The financial support included staff’s salaries, education and children’s pocket money. When a pro-communist government was established in Poland the Polish Government in London ceased and from 1946 the New Zealand government took over the whole responsibility for the camp.


The camp included the following facilities: hospital, chapel, theatre (for performances, showing pictures, concerts and bands), recreation grounds (playing fields for football, basketball and volleyball), kitchen and canteen, dormitories, cottages, school and laundry block. The camp’s staff included such positions as the camp commandant, administration clerks, a Polish doctor with help from a visiting medical officer from Pahiatua, nurses, teaching staff, cook, fire master, boot-repair instructor and drivers. The camp was closed in 1949.


Archives Reference: Allied Nations Co-operation - Polish Children's Camp in NZ - Polish Children's Camp in NZ – General: A photo of the camp in Pahiatua; The Dominion, 3rd November 1944: at the Polish camp.[ ACIE 8798 box 695 90/13/1 part 1and 2]


These images are being presented to mark the 69th anniversary of the arrival of the Polish Refugee Children to New Zealand. For further questions relating to any records Archives New Zealand holds on the Polish Children, please email




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Taken on November 12, 2013