New Plymouth statue rededicated in memory of settlers who arrived 150 years ago

Sister Martha Szymanska, left, and Lyn Potroz, with a photo of Adam Burkett and the statue his descendants gave to St Joseph’s Church in New Plymouth.


Sister Martha Szymanska, left, and Lyn Potroz, with a photograph of Adam Burkett and the statue his descendants gave to St Joseph’s Church in New Plymouth.

Polish settlers who arrived in New Zealand 150 years in the past have been remembered on the rededication of a statue their grandchildren gave to the Catholic church in New Plymouth.

The Burkett household supplied the statue of a younger Jesus within the arms of St Joseph to St Joseph’s Catholic church within the Fifties.

It was given in reminiscence of their father, John (Johann), who died in 1933, and mom Barbara, who died in 1949.

John Burkett was 11 years outdated when, on Could 18, 1872, he and his mother and father, Adam and Anna, and youthful siblings Julia, Theophilus and Thomas, set sail for New Zealand on the ship Friedeburg, arriving in Lyttleton that August.

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In 1878, John got here together with his father to Ngaere, close to Stratford, to start clearing land to farm. After 18 months, the remainder of the household joined them, and their descendants nonetheless stay in Taranaki.

The white statue, constituted of terracotta, stood on Devon St till 1968, when the church was rebuilt in its present type.

The statue now stands at the entrance to St Joseph’s.


The statue now stands on the entrance to St Joseph’s.

For a few years the statue stood on a personal walkway together with the church till vandals struck in 2013, smashing the pinnacle and a hand of the Jesus determine.

After repairs, the statue spent a number of years in storage earlier than being put in contained in the church entrance in 2019.

On Sunday, to mark the Feast of St. Joseph the Employee, and forward of Structure Day in Poland on Could 3, the statue was rededicated in a brief service attended by descendants of the Burkett household.

Vandals badly damaged the statue in 2013 – not that you can tell when looking at it today.


Vandals badly broken the statue in 2013 – not you could inform when taking a look at it as we speak.

Lynn Potroz, whose late husband, Ben, was Adam Burkett’s great-grandson, mentioned the rededication was organized by Sister Martha Szymanski, and came about on the identical day as commemorations for the settlers in Christchurch.

“I’m delighted to see how many individuals are right here as we speak,” Potroz mentioned.

Sister Martha mentioned she had researched the household historical past.

“The Burketts have been the one household that got here on the Friedeburg, that got here to Taranaki and stayed,”

“The provincial authorities at the moment was superb to these early Poles. They gave them a residing wage and he was in a position to purchase some land.”

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