15 Mar 2016

Stories of families of conscientious objectors collected

2:36 pm on 15 March 2016

An academic is planning a truth and reconciliation conference for the families of New Zealand's war conscientious objectors.

Otago University sociologist Martin Tolich has begun a project to collect the stories of the families of the more than 1000 men who were imprisoned for refusing to fight in the first and second world wars.

He is searching for at least 100 families to take part.

Associate Professor Tolich said the objectors' stories have been told, but not the experiences of their families, many of which remain damaged and divided by the experience.

In Opotiki, when one man was imprisoned, the family was boycotted by the town, they could not buy staple foods, and their children were bullied and harrassed.

He said those experiences have been passed from one generation to the next.