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This episode of archive-compiled The Years Back series sees presenter Bernard Kearns exploring how New Zealand coped on the home front as World War II expanded into South East Asia and the Pacific. Access to imports was hampered and rationing bit. Fuel and rubber shortages are overcome with novel approaches and farmland becomes the garden for our allies. The episode also examines how industry switched from civilian needs to making war materials. The Home Guard changes from a bit of a laugh to deadly seriousness as the threat grows of invasion by Japan.

Credits (7)

 Derek Wright
 David H Fowler
 Samuel Grau

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The Japanese had been talking freely and their messages had been intercepted here and most of the people knew what they were talking about. They laughed at us and explained that New Zealand was lying open and ready to be taken when it suited them to take it. 
You had a number of one-man farms in New Zealand where if the man left, and many of them wanted to leave and some of them did in fact leave for the armed services, it was most difficult to keep the show going. But it was amazing really the way people rose to the occasion. 
I think invasion was in the background all the time and you would often wonder how you were going to react if a landing craft came in on the sand hills there and an invading army came across the sand. It would have been very frightening, I think, because New Zealand wasn’t prepared to wage war. She had nothing, didn’t even have a decent rifle to give us.