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Ministers Delighted With Wartime Memories Campaign

Government Ministers Marian Hobbs and Judith Tizard today oversaw the handover to the Alexander Turnbull Library of several hidden treasures already uncovered in a national campaign to preserve New Zealanders’ wartime memories.

The campaign, Lest We Forget, was launched in February by Prime Minister and Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Helen Clark.

Today Marian Hobbs, Minister Responsible for the National Library, Judith Tizard, Associate Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister, and Dr Jock Phillips, Chief Historian with the Ministry for Culture and Heritage which is co-ordinating the campaign, deposited the treasures with Philip Rainer, Deputy Chief Librarian at the Alexander Turnbull Library.

These include a letter written in 1865 from a soldier in the Waikato War to his wife, a memoir of a WWI soldier and leaflets dropped over France and Germany in 1941.

The Ministers said they were delighted with the response to the campaign so far.

“The documents and photographs sent in so far from all over New Zealand show that war affected everybody,” said Judith Tizard.

“We’re worried that many families’ stories will be lost because they don’t think they are ‘important’ or ‘heroic’ stories. We want to emphasise that every memory, whether domestic or heroic, whether from abroad or from home, contributes to the story of our country’s wartime experiences.”

Marian Hobbs highlighted the important role of the Alexander Turnbull Library and other repositories around New Zealand in preserving the human evidence of wartime for future generations of New Zealanders.

“I hope that Anzac Day on Thursday will prompt more people to seek out and entrust letters, diaries, photographs, postcards, souvenirs, ration books and paybooks to New Zealand’s libraries and museums for safe-keeping,” said Marian Hobbs.

A pamphlet produced by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage provides guidance on the kinds of material which are worth saving, along with a list of suitable repositories throughout New Zealand which will take good care of the material, and ensure that it is preserved for people in the future to be able to look at and read.

The pamphlet also provides advice on how to approach these institutions and the rights of depositors.

The information in the pamphlet is also available on the Ministry’s website at: www.mch.govt.nz/war-memory/

Ends

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