FEATURED VETERAN

Sonny Sewell

Sonny was born in Rotorua on the 28th of May 1923. He was educated in Auckland.
He remembers growing up in the shadow of the First World War, during the time when military matters were far more top-of-mind and part of everyday life.

Frank May

Frank was born on the 6th of December 1916 in New Plymouth, living there until he transferred to Hawera, Taranaki in 1937, to work with Hannahs Shoe Company. He attended Central Primary School then New Plymouth Boys High School. Like many of Frank’s generation, he remembers the struggles for families growing-up in Depression years, and how many missed-out on high schooling because their parents couldn’t afford to send them. 

Bill Wakeling

Bill Wakeling was born on the 20th of August 1922 in Wanganui, where he grew up and spent the first eighteen years of his life. His father had a small block near town; a leased a further 60-acres further out; milking cows and rearing pigs. ‘We were milking 60 cows and raising 200 pigs.’

Les Williams

Les was born, grew up and did his schooling in Wellington. He remembers the hard years of the Depression. Leaving school at fifteen, he got a job as an apprentice mechanic and worked his way up to be fully qualified.
Les joined-up on the first day that war was declared, going into Trentham Camp for training with the First Echelon.

Haddon Donald

Haddon was born in the Wairarapa on March 20 1917 and did his high-schooling at Nelson College.
By 1937 Haddon figured the war’s coming was ‘obvious to everyone but our government’, so he joined the local territorials as much on the rationale that he better be as ‘trained and prepared as possible to survive’ as patriotism and a desire to stand up to Hitler.

The NGATOA PROJECT WAS CONCEIVED TO CAPTURE, PRESERVE, SHARE AND REMEMBER THE STORIES OF NEW ZEALANDERS WHO WENT TO WAR IN WORLD WAR II – 1939-45, AND HAS SUBSEQUENTLY EXPANDED TO COVER NEW ZEALAND’S INVOLVEMENT IN OPERATIONAL DEPLOYMENTS THROUGHOUT THE 20TH AND 21ST CENTURY.

The Nga Toa Charitable Trust was established to facilitate the capture and sharing of the experiences of New Zealand’s Returned Servicemen and women. The Nga Toa (Many Warriors) project aims to share these experiences with the wider public to promote remembrance and education of New Zealand’s Military Heritage.

The Nga Toa is an active archive currently containing interviews with 300 individuals. The website has been developed to begin providing access to these interviews, starting with New Zealanders who served in WW2.

HOW YOU CAN HELP

By Donating, you will be assisting with the publication of the raw interviews with veterans that will be then be uploaded to the website.

 

 

RECENTLY ADDED INTERVIEWS

Roi Te Punga

Roi (Roy) Te Punga (Te Atiawa descent) was born in a house at White’s Line in Waiwhetu, Wellington, the third of six children, in 1919; and was raised in Halcombe, a railway town near Feilding in the Manawatu. His father, Hamuera Te Punga, was a Lutheran minister at the St John’s Lutheran Church in Kimber St, Halcombe. He had met his wife, a Chicago school teacher while studying at a Lutheran institution in Illinois in the early 1900s.

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Haddon Donald

Haddon was born in the Wairarapa on March 20 1917 and did his high-schooling at Nelson College.
By 1937 Haddon figured the war’s coming was ‘obvious to everyone but our government’, so he joined the local territorials as much on the rationale that he better be as ‘trained and prepared as possible to survive’ as patriotism and a desire to stand up to Hitler.

read more

Arthur James

Arthur was born near Swansea in Wales on the 7th of December 1918, moving to New Zealand as a very young boy with his parents.

read more