In search of untold stories from World War II

By Rene Hollis | Posted: Monday July 8, 2019

War divides us | War unites us | War changes us

After the success of her book Keepers of History: New Zealand Centenarians Tell Their Stories, Renée Hollis is now working on a social history project focusing on the experiences of New Zealanders during World War II.

Renée will immerse herself in digging out the real stories in letters and diaries from New Zealanders who participated in WWII overseas or helped keep the home fires burning. She is searching for untold stories that give the reader a real insight into what life was really like during WWII.

Among the many people this could include are:

  • Soldiers in all theatres of war, including the Jayforce
  • Nurses, both those who travelled to war zones to serve in military hospitals [‘Tuis’] as well as those working in rehabilitation facilities back in New Zealand
  • Prisoners-of-war
  • Conscientious objectors imprisoned in New Zealand
  • People in the Home Guard throughout New Zealand
  • Women's War Service Auxiliary, i.e. Red Cross
  • Women's Auxiliary Army Corps [WAACs]
  • Women's Auxiliary Air Force [WAAFs]
  • Women's Royal Naval Service [the ‘Wrens’]
  • Men who did not serve due to the essential nature of their work in New Zealand


Letters and diaries must be submitted by 30 August 2019. Accompanying information needs to include: name, rank/title (if appropriate) of all persons involved, as well as locations and dates.

General submission enquiries can be emailed to:

Original or photocopied documents and original photographs can be posted to:

Renée Hollis
Exisle Publishing
226 High Street
Dunedin 9016

Photographs in digital format can be emailed to:

N.B. If you would like your documents returned to you, please provide a stamped, self-addressed envelope or courier bag.

Terms and Conditions

By submitting this WWII material, you warrant that the material is original and that you have the legal right to give Renée Hollis permission to publish this material in any subsequent book resulting from the project. It should be noted, however, that submission of this material does not guarantee publication.

Renée Hollis shall take reasonable care of all material submitted but shall not be held responsible for any accidental loss or damage caused while it is in her custody or during the production of any subsequent publication. It is the responsibility of the sender to make any insurance arrangements they see fit.

Copyright in the original diaries and letters remains with the author of those diaries and letters.

If readers of listeners would like more information they can email Renee:

*Please spread the word! 

© Copyright Dunedin City of Literature