WW100: Connecting to our memories, stories & history through oral history recordings

What was happening in World War I, 100 years ago this week? Hearing recollections of people who lived through the turbulent time is a powerful way to reconnect with that period in our history.

Microphone line up
The keys to collecting our oral histories, the humble microphone. (Image: Radio Collection, Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision Christchurch) 


Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision’s Radio Collection includes some 300-odd recordings relating to World War I. Many of those stories are now being re-broadcast in a new weekly radio series that narrates the progress of wartime, week-by-week.

Every Sunday night on Radio New Zealand National, historian and broadcaster Jim Sullivan looks at the events and personalities of 100 years ago in War Reports, as part of his two-hour Sounds Historical programme. Listen to his broadcasts so far, online here.

The archival oral history recordings provide wonderful insight into the individual experiences. The show also creates a beautifully full illustration of what the wider world was like, using music and newspaper articles from this week 100 years ago to build a snapshot of the way we were,  both here in New Zealand and in the various fields of conflict as the war unfolded.

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