Greek migrants arriving in Wellington, 1951

Vassy Antoniadis arrived in Wellington, New Zealand, on the MV Goya in 1951. Vassy was born in Bucharest, Romania to Greek parents. She and her family were among a large group of ethnic Greeks returned to Greece after World War Two after living in Romania for many years. Greece had been decimated by war and civil war and the prospects for employment were not good. The family reluctantly decided to accept resettlement. Their destination changed from Australia to New Zealand at the last minute. Along with 1000 others they disembarked in Wellington on 2 May 1951 and boarded a train for the Pahiatua Reception and Training Centre. A reporter captured the moment but Vassy did not see the picture until sixty-five years later.

This is a short audio story about coming to NZ and seeing the picture again.


The picture is held in the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand: “Immigrants on the Goya”. Evening Post (Newspaper. 1865-2002): Photographic negatives and prints of the Evening Post newspaper. Ref: 114/290/06-G. /records/23207851.

The audio extracts are taken from Vassy’s oral history recorded in 2017 and also held at the Alexander Turnbull Library and published with kind permission from Vassy and her family.



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  1. I worked with this beautiful lady, Vassy when I lived in Wellington 30 years ago! I now live in the US and have been trying to reconnect with her and was so happy when I ran into this clip. Please pass my email to her if possible. I would love to hear from her.
    Kudos to all the historians who are doing the great work of preserving these great stories! Thank you!


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