What's Up Wednesday

Help Renee Finish Her Book!

Renee has spent the last year travelling the length of New Zealand, talking to 110 kiwis aged between 100-110. She’s interviewed centenarians from every region, and now she wants to take those interviews and turn them into a book! Her hope is that she can preserve our New Zealand history through these stories.

But in order to write up the book, she needs your help! She’s got some great rewards on offer, so we had a chat to her about why she wants you to get on board:

Why is this campaign important?

It is massively important because without this funding I won’t be able to finish writing up the oral history/interviews of 110 people living in New Zealand that are over 100.

My goal is to preserve our New Zealand history through sharing stories and memories of our centenarians. I want all New Zealanders to value the elderly and to read and appreciate their stories and contribution to our New Zealand society; but most importantly to not be forgotten or invisible in our communities but honoured and celebrated.

There is a real sense of urgency to complete the book and get it published as fast as I can. I have sadly had four centenarians die since I interviewed them earlier on in the year. Recording our New Zealand history through the eyes of people who can remember the end of WWI, were part of WWII, survived the great depression and numerous natural and national disasters and have seen so much change in New Zealand is invaluable.

This year I have  driven 7,720km and flown 5,000km = 12,050m (The same distance from New Zealand to Brazil or Russia), travelled for 93 days, (13 weeks and 2 days) away from my home town of Nelson, visited 63 rest- homes/retirement villages, visited 25 people in their own homes, and interviewed 21 veterans from WWII.

Now I need support/finance to write up the interviews and put the book together.

This will involve dictating hours and hours and hours of interviews. Reading through memoirs, diaries, documents and military records, editing photographs and working on design and layout for the book.

What motivated you to reach out to your crowd?

This year as I have travelled all around New Zealand I have met some amazing people along with my 110 interviews of people over 100. Whether its been the person I have sat next to on the plane, the nursing staff, children, grandchildren or neighbours -people are very intrigued in who I am interviewing and the stories that I have heard.

Many are surprised at how young I am and amazed that I am working on this book independently with my camera bag, video, tri-pod and iPhone to record the interviews.

Families and the centenarians really look forward to me coming for the interview. Often the men wear a tie. I had one lady wear a dress and high heels! Family gather around and I begin asking questions and hear stories about their lives growing up in New Zealand. People kept thanking me and become emotional at the idea of me recording their father or mother’s oral history that will be kept and treasured in a book. I thought it was worth reaching out to the crowd of people connected to the centenarians, including the RSA, Age Concern, the bowling and bridge clubs, etc.

What do you have planned for the rest of your campaign – anything for us to look forward to?

Yes, lots!

Last Friday The Project featured a follow up story about the book I am working on and promote my PledgeMe page. The story is about 2 brothers reuniting after 35 years! They both thought that each brother was dead. Until Ben was spotted on The Project as a part of my interview in April. The full interview about Ben (101 in a few days) and Joe was on The Project last Friday!

I also have other New Zealand businesses that will be sending more products as rewards for me to load up next week.

Anything you’d like to shout out to your crowd?

A massive thank you to the people who have pledged, shared the link and told their friends about my PledgeMe page.

I have been blown away with the generosity of New Zealand businesses that have donated puffer jackets, coffee, chocolate, peanut butter and liquorice as rewards for my page.

Even Winston Peters has got behind the PledgeMe page.

He sent me this message today:

“ I am very impressed with the initiative you have shown in commencing such an endeavour and appreciate there must be a large amount of work required in collating all that you have obtained so far ”. – Rt Hon Winston Peters, MP for Northland

To support Renee’s novel and help tell the stories of our centenarians, check our her project right here.

Jessie
About

Jessie is PledgeMe's indefatigable intern. She does a lot of the social media and blogging for us and she's currently studying law and film. We hope she will make us some legal films at some point.

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