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An Online Archive of Nursing Oral Histories in NZ

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Individual Stories

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A Career in Nursing


History of nursing in New Zealand


Preserving the Past

Nursing in New Zealand has a long and illustrious history. There are many fascinating stories and experiences that have been captured over the years through a variety of projects and research completed by academics, nurses and families. The aim of this website is to capture this rich history and create a resource that nurses, students, academics and family members can access in order to gain a better understanding of nursing history in New Zealand.

The website is funded by the Nursing Education and Research Foundation and includes the oral history project undertaken by the University of Auckland in 2012 and 2013. The project team comprised of Professor Linda Bryder, Associate Professor Margaret Horsburgh, Dr Debbie Dunsford and Dr Kate Prebble recorded the stories of nurses who trained during the 1950s and 1960s. Linda Bryder worked with two University of Auckland History Department Summer Scholars, Emma Cotton and Kaitlin McLeod, over the summer of 2014/15, to select highlights from the interviews to post on the website. You can listen to these excerpts on this website and see other associated photos and information. The full oral histories collected by the University of Auckland project team as well as earlier ones are stored with the Alexander Turnbull Library's Oral History and Sound Collection in Wellington.

We welcome contributions to the site and hope this will become an online repository for all things associated with nursing history.

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Grace Benson
Growing up on Great Barrier Island in the 40s gave Grace the desire to enter the nursing profession...more
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The Voice of Nursing

I always had in sight that I was going to be a nurse...

Grace Annie Hight Benson

...you couldn't get off duty until all your teaspoons were there, so we used to buy Woolworths teaspoons and put them in the draw...

Diana Stuart-Masters

...they used to say that Green Lane students were socially conscious, Auckland students were study conscious and Middlemore students were unconscious...

Grace Annie Hight Benson