Starting the Year with Swing, Song, and Good Cause

Where: Dom Polski, 1 McDonald Street, Morningside

When: 28 January 2023

Time: 10am – 2pm

In Poland, WOŚP needs no introduction. As the largest non-governmental, non-profit charity organisation in Poland, it holds a special place in the hearts of the countless people it has helped since its inception 31 years ago.

WOŚP (Wielka Orkiestra Świątecznej Pomocy) has a simple goal close to most of us: to help to save the lives of the sick, particularly children. In the last 30 years, WOŚP has raised more than PLN1.75-billion ($204-million) and donated nearly 70,000 medical devices to health care facilities throughout Poland. (In 2020, it was estimated that WOŚP provided every fifth piece of medical equipment in Polish hospitals.)

In times of crises—such as devastating floods in southern Poland in 2010, or storms in northern Poland in 2017, and currently the war in Ukraine—WOŚP provided, and still provides, support for medical equipment ranging from pulse oximeters and specialised wheelchairs to heart monitors and anaesthetic devices.

WOŚP’s English translation—The Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity—is slightly confusing, especially as its main fundraising events are held in January, but is explained by its origins.

Jerzy Owsiak first used the name during his Polish Radio Three broadcast in 1991-1992, What Do You Want for Christmas? Listeners spontaneously sent donations and messages, which went to children with congenital heart defects. WOŚP was born and held its first charity concert in 1992.

The finale of each WOŚP year has become a part of Polish culture. Local volunteers organise concerts and festivals throughout Poland, and we are doing the same here.

Organisers of our event in Auckland have been collecting and receiving all sorts of items that they will auction. Gadgets with the WOŚP logo that have arrived from Poland will go under a silent auction, but if you want to take part in the main auction, be there by 1pm to put in a bid for paintings by Teresa Trzan, and other artists, an airplane flight, CDs of Polish jazz musician Michał Martyniuk, and vouchers for private lessons in tennis, kitesurfing, and pottery.

Children will be kept entertained with face-painting and a photo booth with traditional Polish outfits.

No Polish self-respecting event would be without its food, and this one will be no different. Of course there will be pierogi! … and home-baked goods … and the bar will be open. Visitors can expect a mini vintage clothes market, and organisers are inviting other interested stallholders, and people who would like to join the entertainment.

So far, Pat Piasta and Tim Pier are heading the musical element of the day, and Dominik and Bianca Koper, and Paweł Szymonczyk will be presenting demonstrations of taekwondo, boxing, and kendo.

All the funds raised at our event go to WOŚP, which this year is concentrating on fighting sepsis.

Looking forward to seeing you at the Dom Polski next Saturday!


Logo & Photo courtesy WOŚP