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From Memory – we need your help

Media release

17 June 2005

From Memory – we need your help

This year marks 60 years since the end of the Second World War and the men and women who served this country during the war are coming to the end of their lives. The Ministry for Culture and Heritage has developed an oral history project, From Memory, which offers support and guidance to those interested in collecting the stories of New Zealand’s war veterans.

Oral historian Alison Parr is leading the From Memory programme, which features a comprehensive website, and she is passionate about recording the memories of veterans and preserving them for future generations of researchers.

“There is real urgency about the task as the generation who lived through those war years is fast diminishing and I would like to encourage people to get involved in preserving our history,” said Alison Parr.

“From Memory has been set up to support people to record the stories of returned service men and women in their local community, so we can collect a wide range of experiences from all over the country.”

“Oral history gives a voice to those people who may otherwise be left out of historical records, and through them we learn the day-to-day reality of the experience of war.”

“We have found that many veterans are willing to reveal things they have never talked about before, things that would never be known without their oral history.”

Once an interview is complete the recording can be offered to the From Memory collection in the Alexander Turnbull Library where it becomes available for anyone to listen to.

The Ministry will also hold From Memory workshops in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch to encourage best practice and promote oral history as an important tool in safeguarding this country’s history.

The From Memory web pages can be found at and are a significant resource for anyone interested in recording the stories of war veterans. They contain information on the different theatres of the Second World War involving New Zealanders such as North Africa and Italy. There are also sections on POWs and those who served with the RAF and the Royal Navy. A short background summary followed by a comprehensive list of questions which could be used in an oral history interview are included.

At this stage, Second World War veterans are the focus of the project, but people who served in later wars of the twentieth century will also be interviewed.

Best practice in oral history is also detailed on the website, with advice on techniques, equipment and ethics. This kind of information is useful for anyone intending to record oral history on any topic.

Visit for more information about the project.


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