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Call for WWII veterans history project continues

Call for World War Two veterans as history projects continue

Prime Minister and Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Helen Clark today invited World War Two veterans who served in the Pacific or were in uniform on the Home Front to take part in two new oral history projects.

Helen Clark said that the stories of these veterans are a very important part of New Zealand history. The aim is to record them in two books, one on the Pacific campaign and another on the Home Front.

“We are calling for veterans and their families and friends to contact us. In this way we can help preserve New Zealand’s wartime memories, which have resonance for so many of our families.” Helen Clark launched the Ministry for Culture and Heritage’s Oral History Project after visiting Gallipoli in 2000. The histories record the experiences of World War Two veterans across a range of theatres.

“The oral histories bring to life, in words and pictures, personal wartime experiences and record them for future generations of New Zealanders,” Helen Clark said.

“Tens of thousands of New Zealanders were involved in the Pacific War or Home Front, in the Army, Navy, Air Force, and in auxiliary groups such as the Women’s National Service Corps, the Home Guard, and the Women’s War Service Auxiliary.”

Veterans are being invited to complete a questionnaire relating to their particular wartime experience. A selection of those who complete questionnaires will be invited to be interviewed. Their memoirs will be published as part of the series.

To assist with the project, the New Zealand Defence Force will make personal war records available to veterans.

The first two books in the oral history series have already been published - ‘A Unique Sort of Battle’: New Zealanders Remember Crete was launched in 2001, followed by Inside Stories: New Zealand Prisoners of War Remember in 2002. A book on the Italian Campaign will be published in April next year, followed by books on the North Africa Campaign in 2005, the Pacific Campaign in 2006, and the Home Front in 2007.

The projects are co-ordinated by the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, with support from New Zealand Defence Force, Royal New Zealand Returned Services’ Association and Veterans’ Affairs New Zealand.

Contact for veterans and families: Megan Hutching, Oral Historian Ministry for Culture and Heritage, PO Box 5364, Wellington Tel: 04 496 6338 Email:

Alison Parr Oral Historian Ministry for Culture and Heritage, PO Box 5364, Wellington Tel: 04 496 6331 Email:

Contact for personal war records: (Application must be made in writing by veteran) Personnel Archives New Zealand Defence Force Headquarters Private Bag Wellington Or visit the Ministry for Culture and Heritage website:

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