of the Honorary Consuls in Warsaw, Poland,
14th and 15th October 1999
Meeting with the
President of The Republic of Poland,
Mr Alexander Kwasniewski
On 14th October 1999 I was privileged to meet
the President of The Republic of Poland, Mr Alexander
I presented the President with a silver lapel pin of a
kiwi and invited him and his family to visit New Zealand,
in a private visit of course, after the Sydney Olympics
in the year 2000.
The President was quite interested and I shall follow
this up in the due course.
The President met with all of the Honorary Consuls
attending this special gathering in Warsaw on the 14th
and 15th of October 1999.
The meeting was well organised by Ministry of Foreign
Affairs included a meeting with the Minister of Foreign
Affairs, Mr Bronislaw Geremek, the Economics Minister, Mr
Janusz Steinhoff, the Chairman of the Chamber of
Commerce, Mr Andrzej Arendaraski and the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs Officials.
The topics ranged from economic growth in the last ten
years; to information on Poland's place in NATO and of
course the negotiations with the European Community for
Poland's entry into UE, some time early in the next
Prior to the Second World War Poland had over 100
Honorary Consuls throughout the world. From 1945 until
Poland regained independence Poland cancelled all
appointments of Honorary Consuls. However since the
independence the Polish Government has re established the
Consulates throughout the world and now has 102.
The special gathering in Warsaw had 32 Honorary Consuls
present covering countries in Africa, Asia, Australia,
USA, Canada and Oceania. There were representatives from
Zambia, Congo, Guinea, Uganda, Egypt, Garner, Djibouti,
Gabon, Kenya, Republic of Kotonu, South Africa, three
from Israel, Togo, Sierra, Cameroon, Philippines, Nepal,
Australia, Papua New Guinea, Pakistan, Japan, Republic of
Korea, Malaysia, Bangladesh, USA, Canada and New Zealand.
Some of the Consuls were asked to address the meeting. My
address to the assembled company included a history of
Polish Immigration to New Zealand, covering the original
workers/settlers in Dunedin and Taranaki, the Pahiatua
Children in 1944, immigration since 1945 to present. I
requested help from various organisations and
institutions in Poland for the Polish schools teaching
polish children polish language and Polish language
course at the Auckland University.
I raised difficulties that the Pahiatua children had with
requests for passports and received confirmation both
from the President's office and from the Ministry of
Foreign Affairs that procedure will be simplified and
passports will be granted to all who will request them.
All of my requests were favourably received by the
officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
On the whole I found the gathering to be well organised,
informative and my wife Valerie and I enjoyed meeting my
colleagues. We have already received several follow up
letters from around the world.