Russian Community

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History of Russian Community in New Zealand

On June 22nd 1941 the Soviet Union was invaded by the Nazi Germany. The response from many New Zealanders was immediate: aid to Russia. Committees were immediately formed with the aim of sending aid to Russia.

"Friends of the Soviet Union" was established in Auckland in 1941. On December 6, 1941 the Soviet troops effectively routed the Nazi Armies outside Moscow. In Wellington New Zealand on the same day, the first conference of the Society for Closer Relations with Russia was held.

Acting on Churchill's message to the Anglo-Soviet Relations Committed that "Any body or organization that brings the people of the Britain into closer relations with the people of Russia is to be heartily welcomed", it became popular to provide and help to Russia to help secure victory against Nazi aggression.

In 1944 the USSR and New Zealand established diplomatic relations and humanitarian aid including medicines and warm clothing were collected by the members of the Society. Many New Zealand pilots defended the ships carrying cargo to Archangelsk and Murmansk from German attacks.

Since then, the Society for Closer relations with Russia has continued to prosper. The peace which we believe all people now long for can only be guaranteed if friendship between different countries and cultures in the world continues and strengthens.

In 2010 the Society for Closer Relations with Russia changed its name to the New Zealand Society for Closer Relations with Russia Incorporated. It continues to promote Russian culture and traditions in New Zealand and foster cultural links between the two countries. It also has a significant role in helping immigrants from the former Soviet Union to New Zealand to integrate into New Zealand society and its unique culture at the same time providing a link to their former cultural roots.