The tale of a boy from Prebbleton who journeyed to the big smoke during the 1920s has emerged from the pages of a forgotten diary.
Lance Rosser grew up on a family farm in Prebbleton at the turn of the century and later worked as a grocer at Sockburn.
Prone to respiratory problems, he left smoggy Christchurch for the cleaner air of Auckland, but sadly contracted tuberculosis in the big city and died aged 24.
Before his death, Mr Rosser recorded his journey and observations of life in New Zealand during a period of social change.
His handwritten diary and leather-bound photo album have come together in a new book by Greg Davies - Mr Rosser's great nephew.
Mr Davies said: "As a boy growing up in Christchurch, a visit to my grandmother was never complete without her pulling out a big Aulsebrooks biscuit tin of old family photographs from the top of the hall cupboard."
Among the pile of pictures, Mr Davies discovered an album filled with "numerous little snaps of a sepia-toned Christchurch and other parts of the country".
Dating from the 1920s, it had belonged to his grandmother's brother - Lance.
She gifted the album to her grandson, along with Mr Rosser's diary from that time, but Mr Davies did not realise the story in his care until after his grandmother's death.
The two items are "a mini time capsule of life in 1920s New Zealand", said Mr Davies.
"The diary and photos give a clear and unique impression of the short, but full life of a headstrong young man with dreams.
"Lance's impressions of life in the jazz age make fascinating reading and the diary and photo album are an enthralling trip back to our not too distant past," he said.
Mr Davies has named his book Feet in Auckland, Heart in Christchurch.
"Lance was always comparing the two cities, usually in Christchurch's favour!" he said.
The book is available from Scorpio Books in Christchurch.
Early Years In Selwyn
At the beginning of the diary, Lance Rosser provided a summary of his early years in Selwyn. Here are some extracts:
I was born in 1904 in the little cottage at the end of the little lane near the little railway station of the little country township of Prebbleton, about 9 miles from Christchurch, the capital city of the South Island of New Zealand. And here about two and a half years after, my eldest sister Enid was born also. I have no brothers more's the pity. At this time Dad was working for the Islington Freezing Works ...
1909: I start attending the Prebbleton public school, my first mistress was Miss Lowe a kindly spinster woman ...
1910: Dad takes a ten-year lease of a farm about 1.5 miles from school and near the old Waimakariri Riverbed. He starts straw- trussing and general carrying work in partnership with Uncle Charlie McMeekin, his only sister's husband ...
1914: The outbreak of the 'Great War'. Mother has four of her eight brothers enlist; George, Jack, Rob and Harry the youngest ...
1918: I begin attending the Lincoln District High School. Headmaster was Arthur Cookson, and High School Mistress, Miss M.C. Osborn, B.A, a fine christian woman. Classmates all of Lincoln, Ladbrooks, Broadfields, Tai Tapu, Prebbleton and Springston districts. We get news of Uncle Harry's death ... Blown to pieces "Somewhere in France ..." All that came home was a bronze plaque ...