MY LIFE (same as Early NZ Years)

This page and and the following pages contain a fairly comprehensive account of my life. It all began in Gisborne, New Zealand. After graduating from secondary school, I went to the University at Wellington where I obtained degrees in chemistry. I then moved to Christchurch for teacher training and then teaching in a local secondary school.


A map of New Zealand showing the key cities where I lived

After five years in Christchurch, I went to Hong Kong to teach in a newly-established secondary school. This was supposed to have been for just two years but I am still there!

The story of my life consists of six parts:

1. The Gisborne Years (1940 - 1957)

2. The Later New Zealand Years (1958 - 1966)

3. The Early Hong Kong Years (1967 - 1977)

4. The Middle Hong Kong Years (1977 - 1985)

5. The Later Hong Kong Years (1985 - 2000)

6. Retirement Years (2000+)

The first part, dealing with my life in Gisborne, is on this web page. The other parts are on subsequent web pages as indicated on the navigation bar above.


Instead of using the six pages of my life on this website, you might like to go directly to another website which contains all the files here plus some that are not included. This website is entitled 'AUTOBIOGRAPHY' and can be found by clicking on the link below:


AUTOBIOGRAPHY (OneDrive - no editing link)

THE GISBORNE YEARS: The early years


Me, at the age of 1 year & 10 months at Waikanae Beach in Gisborne; the beach was an important part of my life during the summers.

Life History File

Here is an account of the early years in Gisborne. On clicking, it will open in a new tab:

The early years (1940 ~ 1957)

Alternatively, you may like the file to open in the file viewer at the bottom of the page. If so, click on the link here.

The early years (1940 ~ 1957) [file viewer]

Baby and pre-school years

Here is a copy of my birth certificate together with photos of my early years in Gisborne. On clicking, they will open in a new tab:

Birth certificate:

Birth certificate

File viewer

A few photos of my baby and early years:


Same photos (in file viewer)

Baby book

Here is the baby book that my mother kept:

Rex's baby book

File viewer


The same photos of my baby and early years as a slideshow (embedded with music to 'entertain' you):

Baby and early years (Vimeo). Password (if needed) = babyrex:

YouTube video

Primary school years

Here are my primary school reports:

Mangapapa School reports:

School reports Same reports [Click on each image to open a report.]

Some class photos, fancy-dress ball pictures and the result of a Standard 2 writing competition:

Primary school photos Same photos (in file viewer)

THE GISBORNE YEARS: The later school years


Me with Dreyfus the cat ca. 1953

Life History File

Here is an account of the later years in Gisborne. On clicking, it will open in a new tab:

The secondary years (1950 ~ 1957)

File viewer

Intermediate school years

Here are my intermediate school reports:

School reports for Forms 1 and 2: School reports

Same reports (in file viewer)

Photos and Form 2 certificate: Intermediate school photos

Same photos (in file viewer)

Secondary school years

Here you can view my secondary school reports:

School reports for Forms 1 to 6A (Form 6A is now called Form 7):

School reports Same reports (in file viewer)

Class photos and other photos: Photos, etc.

Same photos (in file viewer)

Class notebooks

My Form 2 Science notebook:

Form 2B Science notebook

File viewer

My Form 3 Social Studies notebook:

Social Studies notebook

File viewer

A special section: My mother's recipe book

My mother used to do most of the cooking and baking for our household. Over time, she had a very large collection of recipes.

Click on the link below to see the categories of these recipes.

The recipe book

Another special section: The war years

I was born during Word War II but grew up, perhaps naturally being in New Zealand, being unaware of it. Except at the end of the war, when a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Lancaster bomber (similar to the one pictured, right) flew across our town in its circuit around the towns and cities of the country. We went up a hill behind our house to watch it. I can still remember this, though the memory is a blur rather than a clear image.


As I grew up, I learnt more about wars and how men in my family were involved. My mother's father went to South Africa at the age of 19 and fought in the Boer War. He survived.

My father was a medic in the RNZAF (and based at the airfield in Gisborne) but World War II ended before he could be sent overseas. He would visit us at home when on leave. The photograph on the right shows him in RNZAF uniform on one such leave in 1942 when I was aged about 2 yr 9 mos.


An uncle of my mother, Bernard Harper, died at Messines Ridge in Belgium during World War I in 1917. For more on this, go to the Later HK years page of this website when, in 1993, I and my family visited Messines Ridge (and other WWI battlefields) while on holiday in Belgium.

And a cousin of my father, William Heyworth, died in a notorious Japanese prisoner-of-war camp in North Borneo in 1945.

For more on my mother’s father and my father’s cousin, refer to the file below:

In Memoriam: Robert Vallance and William Heyworth File viewer

The links below provide pictures and additional information about these folks. There is some overlap/repetition of comments made above.

Files and photos Same files and photos (viewer)

File and photo viewer

For photos, click a photo to enlarge it (and also to see the complete caption).