On a sunny morning on 1 November 1944, 733 Polish orphan children on board the American troopship General Randall, awoke to the picturesque sights of Wellington. This safe harbour marked the end of a tragic exodus from Poland four years before, suffering hardship in Siberian gulags, where over 1.7million Poles perished.

70 years on, 130 'Pahiatua Children', retraced their journey from Wellington to the site of their camp in Pahiatua, where they were cared for over the next five years. Dubbed, 'Little Poland', they were free to cultivate the Polish language and culture in the New Zealand countryside. This emotionally powerful short documentary, The Polish Children of Pahiatua - 70th Reunion, follows the now older 'Pahiatua Children' over several days as they remember their childhood, survival and ultimately their lives in their new home of New Zealand. 

The film was written, directed and produced by Wanda Lepionka in collaboration with the Embassy of the Republic of Poland in Wellington, ‘Polish Children to NZ, 70th Anniversary’ and ‘Celebrating Everything Polish’.


DIRECTOR: Wanda Lepionka

PRODUCER: Wanda Lepionka/David Strong

CAMERA: Ivars Berzins

EDITOR: Murray Ferguson


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Polish Children of Pahiatua - 70th Reunion (YouTube):