Historians under-reported role of female Kiwis in WWI

Photo: Getty.

Historians have significantly under-reported the role of New Zealand women overseas in World War I, says the author of the first-ever book on the subject.

Jane Tolerton, author of the new Make Her Praises Heard Afar, joins Mark Sainsbury in the Wellington studio to discuss how historians missed the mark.  

Jane Tolerton and Mark Sainsbury. Photo: RadioLIVE.

Ms Tolerton explains she has received negative comments from both men and women during the process of publishing her book.

While men have laughed in her face, she explains, women have also told her off. This is due to the largely believed notion that that women contributed to war efforts by working hard at home.

Somehow it’s an insult to say they went overseas.

The lack of historical coverage contrasts New Zealand being the first to grant all women voting rights.

Make Her Praises Heard Afar details forgotten Kiwi women who served in the war, including doctors, nurses, ambulance drivers, munitions workers, land girls, civil servants, among others. Ms Tolerton was made ONZM for services to history in 2016.

Listen to the full interview with Jane Tolerton above.

Morning Talk with Mark Sainsbury, 9am - 12pm on RadioLIVE and streaming live to the rova app on Android and iPhone.