Croatian > History

History of the Croatian Cultural Society

The first social function celebrated by the group was the first Croatian National Day of Independence of Franjo Tuđman entering the Croatian Parliament as the elected Croatian President.  Other functions followed, each attracting more people than the previous and thus proving the need for an active Croatian organization.   All gatherings were held in hired halls.  
The Croatian group had no home so they bought an old Masonic lodge building which they relocated on to leased Catholic Church land.  The renovated hall became the Croatian Catholic Hall and the Croatian Cultural Society had its inaugural meeting there in September 1991.
More frequent events and Croatian fundraising activities were held in the Croatian Hall, which, by 1992 became far too small for the number of people it was attracting to its regular functions.
In August 1992 we found an affordable 9 ½ acres of neglected, overgrown land.
By way of donations, a significant deposit secured the property.  With a bank loan, further generous donations, voluntary work and the loan of machinery and operators, the site was slowly cleared.  An old building on the site, our potential club rooms, was renovated.  When the new clubrooms were completed, it was burned down during the night as the result of arson.  This was front page news the following morning.  One very generous (non-Croatian) individual saw the story and offered 3 old ex-hospital buildings as a donation to the Croatian Cultural Society.  We accepted, brought them on to the property and built around them, the existing club which was open for its first function the 1992 Christmas Party, when over 600 people attended.  As they say, the rest is history.
With further voluntary work and more donations and community grants, the new Society’s Clubrooms, sports grounds and amenities have gone from strength to strength.
The Croatian Cultural Society is situated in the Western Suburbs of Auckland, amongst an old established and strong Croatian Community. It is part of the larger local community and has catered and hosted many civic and social functions.
The CCS has a membership of 550-600 people, is the largest Croatian organization in
New Zealand, has a very professional folklore ensemble tutored by world renowned Goran Kacurov, and excellent facilities including a superb sports field with full amenities.   The Croatian Cultural Society has been the unofficial “Croatian Embassy” for Croatians in New Zealand.  It was the centre and hub of all Croatian activities and continues to be so.  A number of politicians that have visited New Zealand have all come exclusively to and been hosted by the Croatian Cultural Society.  They have included Franjo Tuđman, Stipe Mesic and other Ministers and politicians.  Popular musicians have all come, but only exclusively to the Croatian Cultural Society.
We were very privileged to have Croatia’s first President, Franjo Tuđman officially open our new Croatian Cultural Society in 1995.  The impact of the Croatian Cultural Society on the Croatian Community and the Croatian spirit has been great.   Its Croatian influence will continue.
Davorin I Ozich
Founding President