Gail Romano

Associate Curator, War History

About Gail

In my curatorial role I work with, research and talk about Auckland War Memorial Museum's large and diverse collection of objects related to New Zealand's war and social histories. My focus is largely on the war collections, both military & personal, and the insights and reflections these material legacies make possible.

I am a member of the steering committee for the War, History, Heritage, Art & Memory (WHAM) special projects research network based in Massey University Te Kunenga Ki Pūrehuroa.

Research Interests and Projects

My particular interests include the country’s conflict experiences in the Pacific, SE Asia and North Africa / the Middle East, and the legacies of those engagements with an emphasis on the material expression of commemoration and memorialisation. I am also strongly interested in the economic aspects of New Zealand's war experience and in Auckland's economic development.

A project I am currently working on is Scarred Nations, the second symposium in a series organised under the leadership of WHAM, in collaboration with Auckland War Memorial Museum Tāmaki Paenga Hira, Massey University, and Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage. This event is planned for April 2023. The first event in the series was the 2017 multidisciplinary, international symposium, The Myriad Faces of War: 1917 and its Legacy.

Selected Research Publications

Romano, Gail (2020/21). ‘The invisible tailor: Finding Isaac Calmanson’Context: dress / fashion / textiles 41, 2020/21, Journal of the Costume and Textile Association of New Zealand

Romano, Gail & Kingsley Baird (eds) (2020). The Enduring Impact of the First World War: A Collection of Perspectives, Bulletin of the Auckland Museum, Volume 21 (2020), print & online.

Abbenhuis, M., N. Atkinson, K. Baird & G. Romano (eds) (2018). The Myriad Legacies of 1917: A Year of War and Revolution, Palgrave MacMillan, Switzerland, 2018.

Women in the Army

Serious business

Women in the Army

July 2022 marks the 80th Anniversary of the formation of the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps. Formed in July of 1942, it was the last of the three women's services to be established. In this article, Gail Romano (Associate Curator) discusses the history of the Women's Auxiliary Army Corps from its inception. 

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2nd Lt. Meryll Neely sitting at her desk in the NZ Forces Club in Cairo, World War II. Taken on 19 February 1942 by an official photographer. Image kindly provided by National Library DA-02386-F