Ron Childs’ father had fought at Passchendaele in World War l. With another conflict looming, Ron signed up for the Territorials at age 18. A few months later war broke out, and he was in the army, guarding the entrance to Wellington Harbour with heavy artillery and searchlights. Poor health meant he never made it overseas; he spent the rest of the war on the home front. Serving in both the army and the air force, Childs was variously a gunner and dispatch rider.
The Gibson brothers, Dave (ex-Elemeno P) and Dan (ex-Kingston), plus Dave’s wife Sarah, formed indie folk outfit Streets of Laredo as “a travelling family band playing unruly sing-along tunes with whatever instruments were at hand”. After just one gig in Auckland, they decamped to the USA (settling in New York, rather than Texas). They quickly made an impact with a well-received debut single ‘Girlfriend’, a quirky video shot on the streets of the Big Apple — and by winning the Adult Alternative Album category at the Unsigned Only Awards for upcoming artists.
At any one time between mid 1942 and mid 1944, between 15,000 and 45,000 US servicemen were camped in NZ preparing for, and recovering from, war in the Pacific. The marines brought colour and drama to the austerity of home front life. Fifty years later this TV documentary used interviews, reenactments and archive material to explore the “American invasion”. Sonja Davies recalls a Wellington street fight kicked off by a racist insult directed at Māori, and her wartime pregnancy and romance (1,500 marriages ensued from “when the Americans were here”).
After training in journalism Rachel Antony worked in publicity, and researched shows for company Greenstone TV. She has since accrued producer credits across a run of documentaries and mainstays of Kiwi reality television. In a four year Australian stint from 2007, she set up Greenstone’s Sydney office and produced for primetime Australian TV shows. In 2017 Antony became Chief Executive of Greenstone.
In Gaylene Preston's documentary, seven elderly women recall their personal experiences of World War II. Their intimate, unadorned stories are filmed talking heads style, interspersed with personal photographs and period newsreel clips. From tragic love stories to long-suppressed revelations of sex and death, War Stories is a revealing touchstone of New Zealand history. It received international acclaim. LA Times writer Kevin Thomas enthused that Preston takes "a simple idea and turns it into a rich, universal experience".