New Zealand Embassy Warsaw, Poland
Ambassador Hinton's welcome message
Witamy i dzień dobry
A very warm welcome to Warsaw’s homepage.
The Embassy in Warsaw is located in central Warsaw, close to Poland’s Parliament (Sejm) and Senate, close to key government agencies (Economy, Foreign Affairs, Higher Education, Agriculture) and close to the commercial heart of the city. Our offices are in an elegantly restored old Warsaw building, one of the few remnants of the destruction of World War II which saw almost 90% of the city razed to the ground.
The Poland of the 21st century is a dynamic central European state which is developing fast. One of the so-called “new EU” states, its influence in Brussels is significant. As you might expect from the EU’s only growth economy, construction is evident all over the place, new highways snake out from Warsaw and other large cities, airports are being constructed and energy projects are attracting big investors. Poland's economic growth has been strong for the past 20 years, as the country works to catch up with living standards in Western Europe. Studies suggest that Poland will continue to grow for another 20-30 years at above the pace forecast for western European economies.
The Embassy was officially opened in 2005 to build New Zealand’s relationship with a country with which we already had strong historical and cultural ties, and which was of growing importance as a rising economic star and political influencer in Central and Eastern Europe. Our objective is to convince New Zealanders that Poland is worth keeping a close eye on, as a partner which offers growing opportunities as a market for our goods and services, education and research, film co-production, and tourism and investment links. We have barely scratched the surface of what Poland has to offer as an economic partner. The bilateral trade and economic relationship remains at a low level, with New Zealand’s positive profile due largely to the enormous popularity of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies in Poland. However, on the positive side, interest by New Zealand exporters in Poland both as a market and a regional hub is growing.
Poland is a big country; it has nearly 40 million inhabitants whose increasing affluence is evident; it has a growth economy and it is ideally located as a hub for doing business in Central and Eastern Europe. It has charming cities and beautiful countryside and it is only an hour’s flight from Berlin. For the homesick, there are even two New Zealand restaurants - Haka in Warsaw and Moa Burger in Krakow.
Last March we celebrated the 40th anniversary of diplomatic relations between New Zealand and Poland and this milestone was marked in a number of different ways. 2014 is an equally big year for us, with commemorative events marking several important anniversaries. In March, we commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Great Escape from Stalag Luft III in western Poland (New Zealanders were among those who lost their lives as a result); in May we remember that Polish and New Zealand troops fought alongside each other at Monte Cassino 70 years ago and, at the end of October, a number of events will be held to mark the arrival in New Zealand in 1944 of 734 Polish refugee children, known as the “Pahiatua Children”.
There is a small but thriving kiwi community in Poland – there are chefs, hairdressers, authors, engineers, teachers, IT specialists and entrepreneurs of all kinds, upholding the fine New Zealand tradition of “getting stuck in” wherever you end up. We look forward to seeing more of you here in Poland.