14 Apr 2010

NZ Governor-General to attend Polish state funeral

8:46 pm on 14 April 2010

New Zealand will be represented by Governor-General Sir Anand Satynand at the state funeral of Poland's president Lech Kaczynski who was killed in a plane crash in Russia.

Mr Kaczynski, his wife Maria, and 94 others including top-ranking officials, died when the government plane clipped tree-tops as it tried to land in thick fog at a former air base north of Smolensk city on Saturday.

The party had been due to attend a memorial for the Polish victims of a World War II massacre by Soviet secret police at Katyn.

The bodies of the president and his wife have been returned to Poland and are lying in state in the capital Warsaw.

Sir Anand will attend the state funeral at the historic Wawel Castle in the city of Krakow on Sunday.

US President Barack Obama will attend, while the leaders of Russia and France Dmitry Medvedev and Nicolas Sarkozy are also expected to pay their respects.