Author(s): Megan Hutching
This will have many more interviews with women than men. There were large numbers of WAAFs, WRENs and WAACs serving in New Zealand, as well as women in the Women's War Service Auxiliary and land girls. There will be sample interviews with men in the Army, Navy and Air Force who were stationed in New Zealand, along with some who served in the Home Guard. (N.B. Helen Clark's father was in the Home Guard and I hope to interview him.) I will also include the experiences of a conscientious objector. Here's a flavour of the book, from WREN Marjorie Lee: One regulation in particular was that Wrens were not allowed to 'loiter' and speak with males within the confines of the naval base. I met my brother on the stairs up to my office one day. We hadn't met for two years. We spoke only briefly but I was called into the Superintendent's office and spoken to quite severely. Another interesting aspect was taking verbatim notes at naval enquiries. The third one I did was at HMNZS Cook in Wellington - a claim of character defamation by one rating against another. When the actual words used were to be given in evidence I was sent from the room. For the record, the words used were that the defendant called the other rating 'a nancy' - in today's world laughable!
Megan Hutching is a senior historian with the Oral History Unit of the Ministry for Culture and Heritage. She has worked with HarperCollins for several years now on the oral history Military heritage project initiated by the Prime Minister, Helen Clark.