Accessibility Links

War Stories Our Mothers Never Told Us

1h 35m Documentary, War 1996

Directed by:
Gaylene Preston

Gaylene Preston’s documentary deals with the personal experiences of seven women during WWII. Through interviews, archival footage, still photographs and popular songs of the time, she paints a wholly absorbing and fascinating portrait of wartime New Zealand.

The women’s experiences are all different, yet almost all involve romance. Several had passionate, last-minute unions as young men were called to go to war. Others were fleeting encounters with American GIs who were stationed here for a period of time. Some women lost their husbands to the war; others grew tired of waiting for them to return and found romance elsewhere.

One of the most touching stories is that of Tui, Preston’s mother, whose husband was held as a prisoner of war for so long that she took up with another man. When her husband returned, she felt she had to go back to him despite her lover being the one the wanted to be with.

The women are all articulate and tell their stories with passion and emotion despite being in their 70s or 80s now. While it sympathetically documents the New Zealand experience, the themes are so universal, the film will touch the hearts of anyone who has one.


Gaylene Preston


Gaylene Preston


Alun Bollinger


Paul Sutorius




New Zealand

You may also like

11m Short, Animation, War 2009
Tama Tū
18m Short, War 2004
Home By Christmas
1h 35m Documentary, War 2010

Download the app to view your purchased content!