Feet in Auckland – Heart in Christchurch

Greg Davies


A unique diary and and photo album detailing the life and times of a young man in 1920s New Zealand.

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SKU: 978-1-877577-94-9 Categories: , , Tags: ,


After nearly 90 years of being hidden away, a unique diary and an accompanying leather bound photo album have come to light. They belonged to a spirited young man named Lance who died tragically in Christchurch New Zealand in 1928, aged just 24.

In 1923 Lance was working as a grocer. For the sake of his health, he left smoggy Christchurch for the cleaner air of far away Auckland. At the time, this trip was considered almost the equivalent of what we know as the Great Overseas Experience today. His diary chronicles the journey of a wide-eyed young man on his trip north and what he found when he got there and began carving out a life.

Auckland in the 1920’s was going through a period of immense growth and Lance’s impressions of living in the Queen city during the jazz age make fascinating reading. Visiting Auckland’s attractions, the arrival of the H.M.S. Hood, listening to prominent speakers, Town Hall performances and ferry-trips to North Shore beaches (long before the harbour bridge existed) are among the events that he details in his diary. He gives an interesting and detailed account of a trip to Rotorua and tells how the visit of a magnetic Scottish evangelist changed his life.

The diary and photos give a clear and unique impression of the short, but full life of a headstrong young man living in 1920s New Zealand. Dive into this diary for an enthralling trip back to New Zealand’s not too distant past.

About the author

Childhood visits to his grandmother weren’t complete for Greg Davies without her pulling out a big old biscuit tin of family photos from the top hall cupboard for them to look over together.

“Once, among the pile of pictures, I found an ancient leather-bound album filled with numerous little snaps of a sepia-toned Christchurch and Auckland,” Mr Davies says. “My grandmother said they belonged to her brother Lance – I didn’t even know she had a brother. She told me I could have them if I promised to take care of them.”

Rather than wrap them in tissue and bury them in a drawer, Greg was motivated to turn them into a book, which he edited in a period of ”midlife crisis” after being made redundant from his Wellington banking industry communications job. Refreshed and inspired by the work, he is now planning a diary of his own.

Additional information

Dimensions 148 × 210 mm

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