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

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 and Evthokia Loubasaki, who were farmers. Alexia attended primary school until the fourth grade and was a good student. She wanted to continue her education, possibly to become a teacher, but her mother didn’t allow her to go to school after her father’s death, prioritizing the education of her brothers due to financial constraints.

Her father was exiled during the German occupation, and her family was left orphaned. Alexia and her siblings were forced to work hard in the fields to survive. Their house was burnt down by the Germans during the war around 1942-43. Alexia and her siblings were taken to a prison in Ayia, Chania, where they stayed for several months.  After Crete was liberated, they returned to their village and found their house partially destroyed. They lived in the remaining part of the house for years until they built a new one. Alexia’s father returned home after the Germans left Crete but died in 1947 due to depression and illness. He had been marked for execution by the Germans but was spared when Crete was liberated… Read more here…

Digital Storytelling Project – Video interview

Oral History Project – Audio interview


Oral History project – Transcript

Click here for the English version of this interview transcript

Photographic and document archive

A New Zealand Cretan
war connection

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

by Associate Prof. Evangelia Papoutsaki