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

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 and they had five children. Her father migrated to Greece when he was young and was baptized Orthodox. Her father’s parents were likely Greeks from Egypt. He came to Greece around the age of 18, probably alone, to work. He was a farmer and later ran a fruit and vegetable shop. Aikaterini and her family left Chosti for Chania in 1948, after the war for better opportunities. She recalls the hardships of the war, including food scarcity, which led them to eat just greens without olive oil or bread.

Kaiti shares experiences of the village during the German occupation. The Germans stayed in the village from 1941 to 1944 and caused significant damage, including burning houses and killing animals. The Germans burned down the nearby village of Skine in retaliation for the killing of a German soldier. The Germans regularly visited the village, possibly searching for British and New Zealand soldiers. She recalls incidents where young men were taken away and shot by the Germans. Her father hid in a chimney to avoid being executed by the Germans. Men from the village would hide in the mountains to avoid detection and women would secretly bring them food and water. The conversation also mentions a village called Giti where 110 people were killed by the Germans. Kiki remembers the fear and hardship of those years, including being hungry and unable to take food from the Germans due to safety concerns. Her mother for instance was cautious about accepting bread from the Germans, fearing it may be poisoned… Read more here…


Click here for the English and Greek transcript of this interview

Life in Crete

Oral History Project


A New Zealand Cretan
war connection

A micro-study of Greek female immigrants to NZ in the 60s

by Associate Prof. Evangelia Papoutsaki