Keepers of History

By Exisle Publishing | Posted: Sunday March 3, 2019

New Zealand Centenarians Tell Their Stories

In 2017, Renée Hollis interviewed 120 people over the age of 100, living in every region of New Zealand. Along the way, she had the privilege of interviewing 23 World War II veterans. Her goal in compiling the book was to preserve New Zealand history by sharing the stories and memories of our eldest citizens. She wants all people to value the elderly and to read and appreciate their stories and contribution to our society. Most importantly, she wants to ensure that that they are not forgotten and do not become invisible in our communities, but instead are honoured and celebrated. In this collection of interviews, we meet opera singers and farmers, a politician and a racing car driver, a nun and a freedom fighter with Gandhi, and even a member of Hip Operation — the oldest hip-hop group in the world! They have witnessed momentous global events and technological innovations that have changed our world. From the everyday to the extraordinary, these are the stories of people who have lived through history and whose message of resilience and making the best of things has so much to offer the generations that have followed them.

  • This book is the first of its kind, written exclusively about New Zealand’s centenarians.
  • The stories cover some of the most remarkable periods in history: the world wars, the Great Depression, the introduction of electricity, the telephone, television, and most recently, the Internet. These centenarians have gone from horse and cart to Skyping their grandchildren.
  • Explores New Zealand in a global context, both in terms of the events covered as well as immigration from Australia, the UK, Canada and India.


Renée Hollis has been called the ‘grey whisperer’ on her travels throughout New Zealand, interviewing centenarians in their homes, on their farms and in retirement villages. She has a unique ability to draw out remarkable stories, as she interacts with the individual and their family members. Renée feels deeply that it has been a privilege and honour to spend time with these precious souls and record their oral history. Prior to her career as an author, Renée was a primary school teacher in New Zealand, the Cook Islands and Botswana.

SPECIFICATIONS 235mm x 191mm, Hardback, 288 pages

RRP $39.99

March 2019 | 9781775593805


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