getting started

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I wanted to create a sense of community and to record histories of people who lived in the area. There were the older people, many related to the farms that once were in this area, there were the stories of Ngati Toa Rangatira who used the area for food gathering (including I understand, juicy eels) and there were the younger people who had stores to tell about dairies, being Samoan, playing in the road.

I started with some of the older residents and found, through members of the Ranui Residents Association, some people who had lived in Ranui. I met with them, talking a bit about their history and looking at photos, then I wrote up a story for them to read and recorded them using my old Mac laptop.

This was quite good as a start but the stories sound a bit stilted, and the problem is that it’s my words really, although I tried to keep to their voice. This video is Reg and Nan Early’s  –14 Arawhata Street.

I followed a similar approach with Margaret and Roy Hughes and ended up with 3 different stories – one about catching flounder, another about living in Porirua and a third and about Margaret’s influence on the development of an over bridge/intersection. I recorded these on my iMac.

For John Ryan I followed a similar idea. He had some images of Mungavin House which his grandparents had built, and an image of old Porirua. When I returned with the scanned images nd the story I had written, he put that aside and began talking. In many ways this works better. We have some images to look at, and because I had spent time with him I knew which questions to ask. There are two stories: one about Mungavin House and another about Porirua village.

I am now recording a woman who is the granddaughter of the Windleys – also farmers in the area. I visited her with a local Landscape Architect, Andrew Gray, who wanted to gather stories about where people lived and the roads. Between us we have recorded an hour’s worth of talking – and I am now editing this, taking out the ums ad arghs and extracting stories about social history. I think there will be one long story where she is looking at old images and pointing out houses, and two shorter ones where she talks more about social history.

Doing it this way is fine but it takes some time to edit the stories, and in the end the editor has control because she decides what is worth keeping.

In the next blog I’ll talk about the stories of Bill and Mazina, and then I’ll talk about the editing process.

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