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NERF Oral history project

In this area:

The NERF Oral History Website can be found at: www.nursinghistory.org.nz

In 1982, NERF began the first in a series of projects to collect the oral histories of nurses in New Zealand. A total of 22 volunteer interviewers undertook 185 oral history interviews that were deposited with the Alexander Turnbull Library Oral History Centre in September 1984. These included:

  • 13 with nurses registered before 1920
  • 59 with nurses registered from 1920-29
  • 70 with nurses who had registered between 1930-39
  • 36 with nurses registered between 1940-49;
  • 3 with nurses registered after 1950.

All of the above interviews can be accessed at the Alexander Turnbull Library in Wellington with permission from the NZNO librarian (library@nzno.org.nz). Although digitalisation of many of the interviews has begun, most are still only in taped format.

Further individual and private additions to the collection were made between 1984 and 2000 including:

  • Psychiatric Nurses Oral History Project (6 interviews)
  • The transfer of nursing education from hospitals to polytechnics (38) Yvonne Langridge
  • Nursing Biographies (5 interviews) Yvonne Langridge
  • Nursing Biographies – Wellington Polytechnic 1973-1998 (21 interviews) Yvonne Langridge
  • Nurses & Midwives Oral History Project (7) 1992-3 Marie Burgess
  • Neonatal Nursing Oral History Project (20) Penelope Dunkley
  • Wartime Nurses Project (11) 1999 Anna Rogers
  • ‘Oranje’ Oral History Project (10) Marie de Joux
  • Nursing in World War II (2) Valerie Fisher
  • Royal NZ Plunket Society (20) Plunket Society
  • Little Company of Mary (nursing order) (12) LCM & Ann Trotter

Information on access to these collections is through the Alexander Turnbull Library.

In 2011, NERF called for tenders to continue to grow the NERF Oral History Archive. A project team from Auckland University were appointed and during 2012 and 2013 collected the following interviews:

  • 1 participant who trained in the 1930s
  • 30 participants who trained in the 1950s
  • 30 participants who trained in the 1960s

All of the interviews are recorded digitally using high quality formats with the full collection also available at the Alexander Turnbull Library. With the digital format, accessibility can now also be improved for those seeking to listen to the interviews or learn more about the history of nursing in New Zealand. The NERF Oral History Website provides a repository for the current crop of oral histories as well as other useful information on nursing history. The page can be found at www.nursinghistory.org.nz. The website has been established to enable access for family, friends, nurses, and students seeking to learn more about nursing history in New Zealand.