Lakes District Museum

Archives - A mine of information - Oral History Collection

When we think about it, 1991 was a big year for the museum. Not only did we take over the Post Office, but we also began our invaluable oral history collection.

With the help of trained oral historians, our initial collection of 40 interview subjects, grew into Speaking of Change, our first in-house special exhibition.

The stories collected told of humour and sadness, prosperity and hardship. They spoke of the change in the Wakatipu from the past to the present, and helped us to realise the importance of understanding the Wakatipu’s past in order to comprehend our future.

The oral history collection has now grown to over house over 300 subjects who have generously shared their memories. More than 600 hours of tapes have been abstracted and are fully searchable in our database. We also use these oral histories as the basis of our special exhibitions, including the following:

  • Always Plenty to Do: Women in the Wakatipu, 1860 – 1920
  • Ticket to Ride: Tourism in the Wakatipu
  • From Kai to Cuisine
  • You Are Not To Cry As The Boys Go Off
  • Our Piece of Paradise
  • Speaking Of Change 2

At the moment we are currently working on our “Gold 150” themed exhibition, investigating 150 years of gold in Central Otago and the Wakatipu.

We are always on the lookout for new interview subjects - if you or someone you know has a story you think should be recorded for posterity.