The Second World War at home

Page 8 – Interviewees

The interviews that appear in this feature were recorded for the book Home: Civilian New Zealanders remember the Second World War, written by Alison Parr and published by the Penguin Group in 2010.

Marian Beech

Marian Beech

Marian Beech was born in England in 1917, immigrating to New Zealand aged 11. Marian's brother, Edgar Harvey, was among the thousands of servicemen who died during the war.

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Marjorie Browne

Merv and Majory Browne

Marjorie Browne was born in Napier in 1924. During the war Marjorie became engaged to fellow pacifist Merv Browne, whom she corresponded with and visited in detention.

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Merv Browne

Merv and Marjory Browne

Merv was born in Whanganui in 1922. He was a committed pacifist who refused military service. He was detained by the authorities at camps like Hautu detention camp, from which he escaped.

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(NB: Merv's interview was recorded by Megan Hutching for another project.)

Mae Carson

Mae Carson

Mae Carson was born in Wellington in 1923. In 1941 she began training as a nurse at Wellington Hospital, graduating in 1944. Two years later she moved to Queen Mary Hospital in Hanmer. Mae later married Bill Carson, a patient she met there.

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Ross Cooper

Ross Cooper

Ross Cooper was born in Helensville in 1923. When the war began he was working on the family farm in Waikato. He wanted to enlist but his father successfully appealed his conscription on the grounds that he needed him on the farm. Ross opposed the appeal.

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Nancy Gillespie

Nancy Gillespie

Nancy Gillespie was born in Christchurch in 1925. A young woman during the war, Nancy and her friends formed a young women’s club to 'liven things up' at their local community hall in Dunsandel. The girls arranged dances with musicians and guests from out of town.

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Joyce Harrison

Joyce Harrison

Joyce Harrison was born in Wellington in 1927 and attended school in Wellington during the war. Her family had a bach at Paekākāriki on the Kapiti Coast, north of the city. This was one of the areas where American troops were based.

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Joyce Maclean

Joyce Maclean

Joyce Hardham was born in Wellington in 1909. She married Gilbert Maclean in 1930. During the war they lived on a family farm at Paraparaumu, north of Wellington, with two small children.

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Sheila Smith

Shirley Smith

Sheila Smith was born in 1922 in Rangiora, North Canterbury. During the war she worked for the Women's Land Corps on an orchard near her home town. She became engaged to Ken Smith, a soldier, in 1943. Ken returned safely to New Zealand in 1946; four months later he and Shirley were married.

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Riria Utiku

Riria Utiku

Riria Utiku (Ngāti Tama, Te Āti Awa) was born in Wellington in 1916. In 1941 she married Rangi Utiku (Ngāti Raukawa, Ngāti Tūwharetoa). Riria, her husband (who was turned down for the army because of his health) and her sister Hinga were all 'manpowered' during the war.

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Also interviewed, but not included in this feature, were Nancy Earle, June Fleming, Joyce Hay, Derek Hume, Connie Katae (interviewed by Susan Fowke), George Kaye, Dot Kelly, Margaret Prain, Geraldine Sharp and Thora Simpson. All the interviews have been deposited in the Oral History Archive at the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand.

How to cite this page

'Interviewees', URL: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/war/second-world-war-at-home/interviewees, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 29-Mar-2019