Voices of Gallipoli is a remembrance project.

Its purpose is to remember the experiences of kiwis at war by speaking their words out loud at Anzac commemorations and events.

The voices

Twelve verbatim accounts from veterans who fought at Gallipoli and lived to tell the tale. 

The voices were originally recorded as background material for a television documentary in the early 1980s.

The oral histories of 26 New Zealand Gallipoli veterans were filmed by TVNZ - nearly seven decades after the last shot in the campaign was fired. 

The interviews were conducted by novelist Maurice Shadbolt and military historian Chris Pugsley ONZM. 

For many of the elderly soldiers, it was their first and last chance to tell their remarkable tales of suffering and survival.

The purpose of the project was to create a comprehensive television documentary about the Gallipoli campaign. 

That documentary was first broadcast on Easter Sunday 1984, and won a Feltex Award for Best Documentary.

You can watch it for free here 👇

But Maurice Shadbolt felt frustrated that the soldiers' accounts were reduced to brief soundbites in the documentary.

"Where the documentary broke new ground it was the work of the elderly veterans who had talked so honestly, earthily and painfully to Chris Pugsley and I through twenty hours of filming in 1982 and 1983. Not all of them were used in the documentary. One - with the most dramatic tale of all - was excluded because he mumbled. Another because he had a disconcerting facial twitch...

"We went on to compile a chronicle of the campaign which was never going to be packaged comfortably in a television documentary. Listening to the interviews on tape, watching them on film, and then correcting transcripts, I saw that, in most cases, we had won more than highlights. Though the old soldiers talked in fits and starts, wove in and out of anecdotes and often wandered far from the point, there were the makings of entire narratives in the interviews.  And that is how, five or six years later, they now appear here."

Maurice Shadbolt's introduction to the publication of Voices of Gallipoli.

You're welcome to read the book. 

It may be available at your local library. Readers in New Zealand and Australia can buy it online by clicking the image 👇

It may or may not ship to the UK.

But the impetus of this project is the sense that the most powerful way to experience these voices is out loud, in the company of others.

It's incredibly moving to hear these verbatim words spoken out loud in public. They recall how humble and mostly simple New Zealanders lived and died on Turkey’s Gallipoli peninsula for eight months in the year of 1915. 

It's also a mighty powerful experience for those who lend their voices and read them aloud. 

The idea is that each testimony is spoken out loud by a representative of the present: men and women of any age or background. 

You can hear them live at Anzac commemorations and events across New Zealand and around the world. It's becoming common for high school classes to present them - either as part of verbatim theatre or history modules. 

You can also hear them online in a couple of formats. Check them out here. 

If you'd like to present one or more Voices of Gallipoli, it's easy to access scripts, event support material and a schools' pack.