Our Purpose

I am passionate about collecting inspiring tales from back in the day, about ordinary New Zealanders doing extraordinary things.

I hope to turn these stories into children’s books to help the next generation of kiwi kids stay connected to New Zealand’s fascinating past.

The incredible tale of my Great Grandfather Henry Butland, told in our very first book What it takes to wear black, was the inspiration behind setting up the Back In The Day website.

If it hadn’t been for a passing comment from my father, Henry’s story could have easily been forgotten forever and it’s stories like his, handed down through the generations, that add colour to our otherwise black and white past.

Backintheday.co.nz is a place for you to submit tales from your own past, to ensure they remain alive and well for future generations to enjoy. So if you have an enthralling tale to tell, submit it today and help us preserve a small piece of New Zealand’s precious oral heritage.

And if not, then I encourage you to start digging! You never know what you’ll find.



  1. Start by asking your parents or grandparents, or even your great grandparents! They’ll no doubt have a story or two to tell.
  2. Write down the names of your ancestors as far back as you can go and then Google them, you might be amazed at what you’ll find.
  3. Search for your ancestors on Paperspast to see if they’ve been mentioned in any old newspaper articles. If they did anything of interest in New Zealand in the past 200 years, there’s a good chance they’ll be mentioned here, and one discovery will invariably lead to another!

Submit a Story today to share your tale with Back In The Day, and make sure it’s never forgotten.