ABOUT THE NGA TOA PROJECT
The Nga Toa Project is an ongoing programme led by amateur Kiwi oral-historian and film-maker Patrick Bronte to record, preserve, and share the stories of New Zealander’s experiences in war, conflict and the Armed Services. As of February 2019, just under 300 interviews with individual Returned Servicemen and Women who were deployed on Operational Service on behalf of New Zealand. So far these interviews cover World War II, Korea, Malaya-Borneo, Vietnam and a small number of more contemporary Operational Deployments.
Nga Toa aims to make the stories available for free to the New Zealand public, through the most far-reaching and accessible mediums available. Via the easiest and most engaging channels – such as digital and social media.
The Nga Toa website is an active online archive. Veterans profiles and video clips will continue to be uploaded to this website while more interactive multimedia is being developed to complement the experiences and views expressed throughout. This will open up the wealth of New Zealand’s wartime experiences to the wider community and serve as an educational resource and reference.
Nga Toa has achieved much in the collection of oral histories, and this reflects the need to continue to record interviews with New Zealand’s veterans and publish them for the benefit of the public and veterans community. Nga Toa is dedicated to this mission and feels that it is essential for the families, our veterans and the wider community.
At age 16, I broke my neck in a diving accident and became tetraplegic, paralysed from the shoulders down. The inspiration behind the project came from two WW2 veterans who by sharing their wartime experiences pulled me out of the inevitable depression that followed the accident.
Despite the limitations of my abilities, I have dedicated my life to helping preserve the experiences from New Zealand’s Returned Servicemen and Women. It has provided me with a true focus along with the feeling that I am contributing to a defining part of New Zealand’s Culture and Heritage. In March 2018, I established the Nga Toa Charitable Trust in order to assist with the facilitation of preserving and publishing those interviews that have already been recorded. It is an entirely nonprofit organisation which gained charitable status in April with the New Zealand Charities Service.
This project could not have started without the support from the communities of Waipukurau and the greater Hawkes Bay area. Outside support has been and is crucial to the continuation of this project.
It is very humbling to receive so much encouragement and assistance from so far afield.