MEDIA STATEMENT: Taking Oral Histories to a Wider Audience

6 August 2021

Wellington oral historians Emma-Jean Kelly and Pip Oldham will be speaking in Greytown on 19 August about their experiences creating podcasts and audio stories on subjects ranging from New Zealand’s 2020 Covid-19 lockdown and the Wahine disaster to the lives of butchers.

It’s one of a series of oral-history-related initiatives from the Wairarapa Library Service, which has also been training up aspiring oral historians and audio storytellers.

‘We have so much interesting heritage here in Wairarapa,’ says Library Service Manager Annette Beattie. ‘Oral histories, podcasts and audio stories are a great way to celebrate our local heritage and get those stories out there.’

Dr Emma-Jean Kelly, the Audio-Visual Historian at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage, will be talking about the oral history project she initiated last year on New Zealand’s Covid-19 lockdown, and how it grew into a podcast featured on Radio New Zealand, ‘Kei Roto i te Miru: Inside the Bubble’. Interviews for the project were done mostly over Zoom during the Level 4 lockdown, and included two Carterton locals, artist Leanne Taylor and writer Jan Farr.

Independent oral historian Pip Oldham, whose oral history work has included interviews with everyone from butchers to artists and people in the professions, will speak about how she came to use audio recorded for archival purposes to tell stories for audiences outside the archive, what’s involved and why it’s worth doing.

‘This is a great chance to hear from two very experienced oral historians about how they used their oral histories as a basis for podcasts and audio stories,’ says Annette.

Hear Pip and Emma-Jean at the WBS Room, Town Centre, 87 Main Street, Greytown, on Thursday 19 August from 10 to 11.30am. All welcome.

For more information contact the libraries’ Content Creator – Local Heritage, Caren Wilton,


Media contact:

Sheil Priest, Communications & Engagement Manager

South Wairarapa District Council

Mob: 027 252 2863       


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