“Review the interviews and one realises that Patrick is a master at his craft. They are both detailed and revealing and while the numbers of World War Two veterans continue to diminish, Patrick has moved on into the wars and engagements of the late 20th and 21st Century. It is his profession and he is one of New Zealand’s unsung professional interviewers. His work speaks to this and I commend him to you.”


ONZM, DPhil, FRHistS (Historian and Lecturer at the University of New England, Australia (1996-1999) and the Royal Military Academy, Sanhurst as a Senior Lecturer in War Studies (1999-2014), Pugsley's has written a wide range of books about the New Zealand experiance of conflict, incl: , The ANZACS at Gallipoli: A Story for ANZAC Day (1999), ANZAC:: New Zelanders at Gallipoli (2000), The ANZAC Experiance, New Zealand, Australia and Empire in the First World War (2001), From Emergency to Confrontation: The New Zealand Armed Forces in Malaya and Borneo 1949-1966 (2003), Operation Cobra (Battle Zone Normansdy) (2004), A Bloody Road Home. World War Two and New Zealands Heroic Second Division (2014).

“Patrick has done a fantastic job in recording the experiences of many of our Second World War veterans. He established an impressive rapport with many of them and obtained information that will be of great historical importance. His efforts are greatly to be commended, and the website he has created will contribute greatly to our understanding of New Zealand’s involvement in the most traumatic conflict in the history of mankind.”


ONZM (Historian and widely acclaimed author of over 15 books, incl: The Oxford Companion to New Zealand Military History (ed., 2000), New Zealand and the Second World War: The People, The Battles and the Legacy (2004), New Zealand's Great War: New Zealand, the Allies and the First World War (2007), The Penguin Book of New Zealanders at War (co-ed., 2009), and New Zealand's Vietnam War (2010))

“Patrick’s project was conceived to capture and share the New Zealand experience of the Second World War. It has been compiled by Patrick Bronte, a young film-maker and historian with his own significant challenges in life. It is inspirational. It has preserved for all New Zealanders an invaluable window to the past. What Patrick has done with this project should be utilised by all military historians and those with an interest in the events that have shaped New Zealand. This is a towering achievement and a fitting tribute to New Zealand veterans of the Second World War.”


QSM, Phd, MA(Hons), BA, Dip Tchng. (Professor of War Studies, Massey University. Author (incl): Kippenberger: An Inspired New Zealand Commander; In the Face of the Enemy: The complete history of the Victoria Cross and New Zealand; Dark Journey: Three Key Battles of the Western Front; Images of War: World War One: A Photographic Record of New Zealanders at War 1914–1918 and his most recent Letters from Gallipoli: New Zealand Soldiers Write Home.; Le Quesnoy, Jim's Letters; Roly, the Anzac Donkey.)

“I have known Patrick as a student of the Centre for Defence and Security Studies for around eight years. In that time, Patrick has impressed me…his real strength, and passion…is his selfless dedication to the collection of oral histories from New Zealand’s war veterans. In this area, Patrick has undertaken hundreds of interviews with veterans from the Second World War through to more recent operations in an effort to capture their stories and to ensure important aspects of New Zealand’s history are preserved and shared. In doing this, Patrick has a unique ability to connect with veterans and in doing do collect and share data, along with the emotions that go with it, that others have not been able to achieve previously. In this sense, Patrick has created a rich database of New Zealand’s history that will serve as an important educational resource for scholars, practitioners, families and wider society. Patrick’s achievements, along with his selflessness in undertaking a project that has benefit for all of New Zealand, is not only commendable but given the significant challenges Patrick has had to overcome to achieve these, is inspirational. I am both honoured and humbled to write this note for Patrick and the project, and strongly endorse his efforts.”


(Centre of Defence & Strategic Studies, Massey University)

“I have been aware for many years of the work Patrick Bronte has been doing to collect oral accounts of New Zealanders who have served this country. The body of material is of immense value to our nation and will be a toanga for generations to come. Not only has Patrick interviewed, in some cases, soldiers who had not spoken for decades or ever to anyone outside those who shared their experience, there were also moments of understanding that led to healing processes. A healing of wounds carried deep and for a long time. Patrick’s respectful and gentle approach has enabled many of our veteran’s voices to come through to us. I fully support this endeavour and encourage those who value our history, and those who have allowed us to write it, to stand beside this remarkable man and his unwavering dedication to our veterans.”


“It gives me great pleasure to write a recommendation… I first encountered Patrick and his work some years ago while doing research for my second book In Love and War: Kiwi Soldiers Romantic Encounters in Wartime Italy (Penguin, 2012)… I was lucky to be able to interview many veterans in person for my two books Fighting with the Enemy: Kiwi POWs and the Italian Resistance (Penguin, 2003) and In Love and War. However, just about all have since died and with them their precious stories, which are an invaluable testimony to our nation’s developing selfhood. The voices and experiences of ordinary soldiers are often overlooked in accounts of military history. For this reason, Patrick’s tireless work in tracking down, interviewing and recording so many veterans over the years deserves to be recognized and supported. His website will be an important resource for future historians, researchers and novelists, not to mention descendants, and his desire to develop it to the highest possible standards is laudable. I cannot recommend this website and its potential highly enough. If I were to write a third book on World War Two I would need to have such a resource available. Patrick’s goals and vision deserve to be given as much support as possible.”


PhD, MA (Hons), BA (University of Auckland), Diploma of Teaching (ACE), Diploma Corso Superiore, Perugia, Italy.

“Nga Toa is an invaluable and rich resource for historians and families of our war heroes. The combination of video, photography and text makes for a moving, insightful and unique repository. Importantly – and in their own words – the veterans give us a greater understanding of the decision to volunteer, and how they fared when they returned home with the scars of war, something seldom talked about at the time. Patrick Bronte’s unceasing work work to record and preserve the recollections of our World War Two veterans is nothing short of extraordinary.”

Alex Hedley

Alex Hedley is a writer, book editor and photographer. In 2016, Alex was appointed as HarperCollins New Zealand Publisher. He has edited a range of publications, including Yesterday, The Beatles Once Upon a Time (Genesis, 2007). His first book, Fernleaf Cairo, was published by HarperCollins in 2009, co-authored by historian Megan Hutching. It is a best-selling historical account of New Zealand soldiers in wartime Egypt.