Telling the stories of Post-war Cretan Female Migrants in New Zealand

An oral history and digital storytelling project

Telling the stories of Post-war Cretan Migrant Women in Aotearoa New Zealand

An oral history and digital storytelling project

“I heard that New Zealand wanted to help poor Cretan girls because of the help we had given them during the war.  I didn’t know what New Zealand was…My brother read about it in the newspaper and he told me about the scheme.  He knew I was unhappy because I had not been able to progress in school…My mother said apply but you won’t get through and I won’t let you go anyway. When I was accepted my mother would not believe it.” – Adrianna Weston-Solonaki

About this project

This digital archive contains the material of an oral history project that recorded the personal stories of elderly Cretan Greek women who came to New Zealand in the early 60s on a scheme to provide domestic staff for hotels and hospitals. It explores a gender perspective with emphasis on how women experience migration and the impact migration had on them from a women’s perspective. It also provides a historical bridge that connects the shared WWII history of Crete and NZ.

The Women

Adrianna Weston-Solonaki

Adrianna Weston-Solonaki Adrianna's story is a tale of resilience, independence, and the struggle to find a sense of belonging in a foreign land. Adrianna Weston was...

Aikaterini (Kaiti) Galanaki (Kafaki)

Aikaterini (Kaiti) Galanaki (Kafaki) Aikaterini (Kaiti), born in Chosti of Kidonia, Crete in 1937. Her mother was from Chosti and her father from Alexandria, Egypt...

Akrivi (Voula) Hiotaki

Akrivi (Voula) Hiotaki Akrivi Hiotaki, also known as Voula Misirlaki took place in Sydney, Australia. Akrivi talks about her birthplace in Vouva Sfakia, in Crete,...

Alexia Pendaraki

Alexia Pendaraki Alexia Pendaraki was born on August 15, 1933, in the village of Ayia Irini, eastern Sellinos, Chania, Crete. Her parents were Markos Pendaraki...

Anastasia (Tassoula) Despotaki

Anastasia (Tassoula) Despotaki Tasoula was born in 1941 in the small mountainous village of Kakopetros, in Western Crete. Official records show her birth date in...

Angeliki (Kiki) Polichronaki

Angeliki (Kiki) Polichronaki Angeliki was born in Crete, in a village called Dris, Sellinos district, on September 29, 1939. Her parents were Spiros Polichronakis and...

Argiro Pedaraki

Argiro Pedaraki Argyro talks about her birthplace in Agia Erini of Selinos in Crete, her conflicting birth dates in different documents, and her family. She...

Efrosini Sifothaskalaki

Efrosini Sifothaskalaki THIS PAGE IS STILL UNDER CONSTRUCTION Oral History project - Audio interview Bio EFROSSINI-SIFODASKALAKI-transcriptDownload Oral History project - Audio interview transcript EFROSSINI-SIFODASKALAKI-bioDownload Photographic archive

Eleftheria (Elli) Katsigaraki

Eleftheria (Elli) Katsigaraki Eleftheria was born in Kandanos, a small town in Crete, at the start of the war, in 1941. Her father, Theophanis, was...

Eleftheria (Ria) Manioudaki / Nionaki

Eleftheria (Ria) Manioudaki / Nionaki THIS PAGE IS STILL UNDER CONSTRUCTION Oral History project - Audio interview Bio ELEFTHERIA_RIA_MANOUDAKI-NIONAKI-bioDownload Oral History project - Audio interview transcript ELEFTHERIA_RIA_MANOUDAKI-NIONAKI-transcriptDownload Photographic archive

About this project

This digital archive contains the material of an oral history project that recorded the personal stories of elderly Cretan Greek women who came to New Zealand in the early 60s on a scheme to provide domestic staff for hotels and hospitals. It explores a gender perspective with emphasis on how women experience migration and the impact migration had on them from a women’s perspective. It also provides a historical bridge that connects the shared WWII history of Crete and NZ.

“I heard their stories about America, Germany and something inside of me just wanted to go. I wanted to leave. They offered me matches {marriage proposals} from here, there and everywhere but I didn’t want it. I just wanted to leave.” – Spirithoula Vlondaki