War oral history programme

Page 2 – Before you begin

Preparation work

There are established guidelines for doing oral history well, and the Guide to recording oral history on this site provides a summary of what you need to know and the tools to interview war veterans. Read these guidelines to help you produce good-quality oral history that will be useful to researchers in the future.


All good oral history requires some research. This site includes campaign notes on the major theatres in which New Zealanders served (Greece, North Africa, Italy, Pacific) and suggested questions for veterans of these campaigns. We also provide background notes and questions for veterans of the Royal Navy and the Royal Air Force, and for servicemen who were captured as prisoners of war. As well, we offer possible reading for further understanding.

Preliminary meeting

All oral history interviews should take place after a preliminary meeting with your interviewee. We provide a guide on what this meeting entails.

The interview

We provide guidelines for achieving the best results in the interview itself, offering tips for each aspect of the process.

After the interview

Oral history is only useful to future researchers if a summary of contents of the recording is available in the form of abstracts or transcriptions. For help with these and archival storage of your interview, follow our guide to processing the interview.

Finding interviewees

If you are interested in interviewing war veterans for the From Memory programme but do not know any personally, we offer some suggestions for finding interviewees.

How to cite this page

'Before you begin', URL: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/hands/from-memory/before-you-begin, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 4-Aug-2014