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President of Poland to visit New Zealand

Press Release – Embassy of the Republic of Poland

The first official visit by a Polish President to New Zealand will focus on political and economic issues, while also being dedicated to engagements concerning the Polish Communities.President of Poland to visit New Zealand on 22-23 August 2018

The first official visit by a Polish President to New Zealand will focus on political and economic issues, while also being dedicated to engagements concerning the Polish Communities.

President Andrzej Duda’s two-day visit to New Zealand, to be paid on 22-23 August, will include meetings with Governor-General Patsy Reddy, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and the Leader of the Opposition Simon Bridges.
Among the political issues, common for Poland and New Zealand, to be discussed during the talks are the countries’ role in the global security architecture, the situation in the South Pacific region, Russia and China policies, cooperation with the United States, the negotiated free trade agreement with the European Union, as well as climate issues in the context of the COP24 summit to be held in December in Katowice, Poland.

President Duda will also meet with NZ Trade Minister David Parker and business representatives to discuss economic cooperation and investment opportunities.

The parties are expected to sign a number of bilateral agreements, including a Poland-New Zealand civil aviation agreement, as well as documents establishing academic cooperation between four universities and partnership cooperation between sister towns Pahiatua and Kazimierz Dolny. “These new agreements will help our people develop new links and strengthen friendship and relations in various areas”, said Zbigniew Gniatkowski, the Polish Ambassador to New Zealand.

President Andrzej Duda and First Lady Agata Kornhauser-Duda will also meet with the Polish Community in Auckland and in Wellington where the Polish Head of State, in presence of the Mayor of Wellington J. Lester, will inaugurate the Polish Children – Polskie Dzieci square. The square was named after the Polish Pahiatua’s Children (733 orphaned children who arrived in Wellington in 1944 and settled in New Zealand after the Second World War) to mark the friendship and partnership between Poland and New Zealand.

“The Polish Children – Polskie Dzieci square in Wellington becomes a new point of reference not only on the map of Wellington but also in the context of our bilateral relations, it is a great sign of recognition of the Polish Community’s contribution to the New Zealand society and to development of their new home country”, emphasized Ambassador Gniatkowski.

Tadeusz Wypych, President of the Polish Association in New Zealand: “In this year of the 100th Anniversary of Poland’s Independence, it is a particularly auspicious occasion for the Polish Association of New Zealand to be able to welcome the Polish President and the First Lady to New Zealand. Being the first time visit of a Polish Head of State, it provides a great opportunity to thank New Zealanders for their generous contribution in 1944 to the hosting of 733 Polish orphans known as the Pahiatua Children and 105 care givers”.

Zdzisław Lepionka, former President of the Polish Association and one of Polish Children: “New Zealand became our permanent home but we never forgot the country of our birth, our culture and proud history. Poland was always close to our hearts, but unfortunately, citizen’s freedoms in Poland were constantly curtailed by communist authorities. Over the years we followed the events in Poland very closely and were actively involved in the resettlement of nearly 400 Poles to New Zealand. In 1989, thanks to the free trade union “Solidarity”, Poland eventually regained full independence from the Soviet Union.
President Duda’s visit is very significant for both New Zealand and the Polish people, as it is the first one to be paid by a democratically elected Polish President. His visit will further help promote good relations and trade, and strengthen the bond between two countries that both value freedom and democracy.”

The programme of the Polish Presidential Couple’s visit to New Zealand also includes the visit to the Auckland War Memorial Museum, where the President, in presence of NZ Defence Minister R. Mark, will lay a wreath in the Hall of Memories and will visit the exhibition dedicated to Józef Piłsudski, founder of the Polish Republic in 1918. The exhibition is presented by the Embassy of Poland in Wellington in partnership with the Auckland Museum, in order to celebrate this year’s Centenary of Poland’s regained Independence.

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