Tapanui is hosting a free workshop for oral history interviewers at the RSA rooms tomorrow from 10.30am to 2.30pm.

Southland Oral History Project (SOHP) co-ordinator Rosie Stather will be upskilling amateur historians with professional tools in this initiative to develop the SOHP database by expanding the pool of quality oral history collectors.

‘‘Southland’s stories define who we are as a people and a province,’’ Mrs Stather said.

‘‘Our project aims to capture these stories as a collective memory of what it is to be part of this community.

‘‘History can be very good at recording major events but the detail of ordinary, everyday lifestyle is often lost and it’s that detail that allows you to see through the eyes of other people and connect your own heritage to the same past.

‘‘We have great recordings from people recalling the turn of the 20th century.’’

They watched the phasing out of horses and the rise of electricity, she said.

‘‘People wouldn’t drive to Invercargill to go to the cinema. All that kind of thing came to them and set up in town halls where there were dances and a different community vibrancy.

‘‘I remember a particularly colourful recollection of watching visiting circus elephants being taken down to the river.’’

Tomorrow’s workshop will be the third in a loose training series focusing on specific practical elements.

It will not be covering the basics of oral history interviewing but people interested in this are encouraged to attend and partake of the lunch provided.