Topic: Anita Lisignoli

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Hamilton City Libraries Oral History Programme, Interview with: Anita Lisignoli, Accession no: OH0089, Date: 14 July 1990. Interviewed by Gina Lisignoli as part of the Taking root in a new land Oral history project 1990.


Anita Lisignoli was born 6 December 1913 in Piuro, Italy. Anita describes the region of her birth and a few childhood memories of Italy during World War 1. Anita moved to Switzerland to escape to neutrality. She lived in the Alps for two years tending cows and fishing on the lakes, her father working in New Zealand. She moved back to Italy after the war and attended school. Anita gives a brief description of religious and political attitudes, looking forward to travelling to New Zealand to be with her father. In 1920 her father moved to Te Pahu and some land. Anita talks about preparing to journey to New Zealand. She left from Naples by boat in December 1921. Anita gives a description of the journey and other passengers. She arrived on 13 February 1922 in Wellington, she then travelled by train to Hamilton and out to farm at Te Pahu. She slowly adapted to life in New Zealand. Anita talks about the farm and school, learning the language and meeting the locals. During this time four children are added to the family.

New Zealand

Anita worked on the farm for a time, eventually deciding to stay in New Zealand. She established good relations with others in the farming community. She finished schooling and moved to Hamilton to work. She looked after children in a family, moved to another family in Hamilton. Anita then talks about World War 2 commencing, her future husband arriving from Italy and getting married in Hamilton. Anita bought a section and built a house in Hamilton. Her husband mixed with other tradesmen and was able to extend the house. Her sisters grew up on the farm and eventually married and moved away. Anita's parents moved to Hamilton to live in Vine Street. Her brother continued to work the farm, had three children.

Anita kept in contact with relations in Italy and planned to return for a visit. Two of the children visited Italy at different times. Eventually Anita managed to visit both Italy and Switzerland. She felt a strong attraction to her native country. Verse 'Love of Native Land' by Sir Walter Scott.

Anita Lisignoli - Oral history

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Anita Lisignoli

First Names:Anita
Last Name:Lisignoli
Place of Birth:Piuro, Italy