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New Zealand's First Refugees: Pahiatua's Polish Children

Our teacher mother

Our teacher mother

Our mother's (Wanda Kalińska) life as a school teacher at the Polish Children's Camp in Pahiatua was bound to the lives of the children both in and outside of school, filling the free time of those young people who were willing to work together with her on projects of various sorts. Her life was a special lecture on patriotism, history and sensitivity to the arts.

Crocheting, painting on wood and glass, and making paper cut-outs helped to develop in the children a manual dexterity and creativity which, if they had lived under normal conditions, they would have learned at home. Our mother also contributed to the cultural life of the camp by producing decorations and stage props for productions. We returned with her to Poland in 1948.