While their loved ones left to serve overseas, most New Zealanders spent the Second World War at home. This book tells the stories of those who stayed behind. Based on frank, in-depth interviews, Home reveals the reality of civilian wartime life in New Zealand during the watershed years from 1939 to 1945. Women and men remember, with disarming honesty, the experiences that unfolded for them, including chronic uncertainty, the fear of enemy invasion, the deprivations that came with rationing, and the intensity of wartime romantic relationships. Some took a pacifist stand, against the patriotic tide; others hid their embarrassment when they were excluded from military service. Most lived with the ongoing anxiety of long-distance separation from loved ones. Many endured the inevitable grief of loss. Moving, funny, heartfelt and often surprising, these are memories of ordinary lives lived in extraordinary times.
Alison Parr is Senior Oral Historian at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, Wellington, New Zealand. A former award-winning broadcasting journalist and interviewer, she worked for more than 25 years in radio and television. Alison has spent most of the past decade recording the wartime memories of veterans and other New Zealanders, and is the author of four books based on oral history, including Home: Civilian New Zealanders Remember the Second World War and The Occupiers: New Zealand Veterans Remember Post-war Japan.