War oral history programme

Page 4 – Finding interviewees

Finding interviewees

You may want to interview war veterans but not know any in your family or community. If this is the case, you could approach your local RSA and ask them if you can put a notice in their newsletter or on a bulletin board to seek veterans willing to talk about their wartime experiences.

You may also try making contact with veterans through local churches, the library or senior citizens' community groups.

The characteristics to look for in a good interviewee are:

  • a willingness to be interviewed and to talk clearly and candidly
  • the ability to remember details
  • a certain reflectiveness about their experiences
  • an interest in remembering the past.

You can avoid the problem of committing yourself to an interview by saying initially that you are 'researching' your topic. If you decide that someone is not going to be a good interviewee, you can thank them and leave without causing offence.

You may find that some veterans have written memoirs about their wartime experience. This does not mean that you should discount them as potential interviewees. Often people recall the past more readily when they begin talking about it. Read what they have written, and then decide if you think there is more they could add in an interview.

How to cite this page

'Finding interviewees', URL: https://nzhistory.govt.nz/hands/from-memory/finding-interviewees, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 15-May-2014