Sir Richard Hadlee’s father, Walter, captained the New Zealand Cricket Team on the 1949 Tour of England. This was the New Zealand team that prompted the rest of the cricketing world to sit up and take notice; enjoying great success, and promoting several players to world-class status.

A campaign that began with a five-week-long sea voyage and lasted a total of eight months, it was played out in war-torn Britain at a time when rationing was still in effect and buildings still lay in ruins, and is brought to life once more in this compelling story, based on the meticulous day-by-day diary entries Walter maintained throughout the trip.

The tour synopsis? It makes for compelling reading. Walter’s side played 32 first-class games, winning 13, drawing 18 and losing just once. Eight of the touring party – Martin Donnelly, Bert Sutcliffe, Merv Wallace, Verdun Scott, Walter, John Reid, Geoff Rabone and Brun Smith, exceeded 1000 runs in first-class matches, at that stage a record for touring teams in England.

Sutcliffe’s aggregate of 2627 was second only to Don Bradman’s 1930 record of 2960. On 26 occasions, New Zealand scored more than 300 in an innings; in ten of those, they exceeded 400.

Since 2014, Sir Richard has worked on developing his father’s journal into a publishable format, embracing the many considered and insightful observations detailed by the man best remembered as the grandfather of New Zealand cricket.

The Skipper’s Diary brings to life again, not just the rich tapestry of post-war cricket in England, but also the adventure and experiences of a journey that included a match in occupied Germany, and a 36-day return voyage - taking the squad through the Panama Canal, into the Pacific Ocean and home via Pitcairn Island.

In The Skipper’s Diary, read about Walter’s thoughts on team selection, from the controversy at home over the omission of Otago’s George Mills, to the early tour concerns over the form of Bert Sutcliffe, and the decision to replace the well-performed Brun Smith with youngster John Reid for the third Test at Old Trafford.

Enjoy Walter’s accounts of meeting with royalty, the speeches he wrote for various VIP functions, and his post-tour reflections on each of the squad members. A man of detail, Walter also offers a sample of costs and expenditure of the time, and reveals the tour contract – signed by all team members before departure.


The contents of the book includes:

1.     Foreword written by Barry, Martin, Dayle, Richard and Christopher Hadlee

2.     Introduction to set the scene written by Richard Hadlee.

3.     The Prologue written by New Zealand cricket historian Don Neely.

4.     A message from David White the CEO of NZC.

5.     A message from H.R.H. The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip KG. KT. The Duke was the President of the MCC in 1949 and met the team on four occasions during the tour.

6.     The Tour Itinerary.

7.     The Tour Contract signed by the players in 1949.

8.     The Tour Manager’s Report sent to the NZCC written by Jack Phillipps.

9.     Player Reflections looking back on the tour.

10.   The Final Analysis – player statistics and performances complied by Richard Hadlee.

11.   Match scorecards and summaries.

12.   Extras – cricket stories and asides.

13.   What happened to ‘The Forty-Niners’ after the tour?

14.   Over 150 photographs. 


Included with the book is a complimentary two hour DVD documentary of the tour called ‘The Forty-Niners’, andintroduced by Sir Richard Hadlee. The documentary includes reflective player interviews from Walter (also reading from his own diary), Martin Donnelly, John Reid, Merv Wallace, Johnny Hayes, Bert Sutcliffe, and comments from Don Neely. The current Blackcaps coach, Mike Hesson, and captain, Kane Williamson also share their views on ‘The Forty-Niners’. There is black and white archive film footage of the tour and a selection of tour photographs and asides.

119 Limited Edition leather bound books

A special, leather-bound limited edition of the book has been produced. The number 119 is significant as it was Walter’s highest first-class score on tour. The book is beautifully presented, complete with a replica mini cricket bat with signatures of the team, a 1949 Test Match scorecard, Tour Progamme, Postcard, and DVD documentary. A special page is signed by John Reid (the only surviving member of team); the Hadlee brothers, Don Neely, David White and Sir Ron Brierley.

Three charities are being supported in the form of a donation from proceeds of the book sales. The beneficiaries are the New Zealand Cricket Museum (Patron: Sir Richard Hadlee); The Cricket Live Foundation where underprivileged street kids in Sri Lanka and India learn life skills through cricket to give them a better future (Patron: Sir Richard Hadlee); and the NZCPA (New Zealand Cricket Players’ Association) Cricketers’ Trust, supporting cricketers who are in need.

Walter’s Diary is a historical document. It is part of a legacy that will now be preserved, and the players and their exploits remembered forever. For Sir Richard, bringing to life his father’s detailed recollections of the 1949 tour has been both a poignant and exhilarating experience.

A series of promotional book launch events around the country will be hosted by Major and District Cricket Associations from 19th September through October and November.

This 514-page book/DVD is not available in retail shops. To purchase a copy, go online from September 26th 2017

Click here to view the promotional flyer


The Christchurch Metro Cricket Golf Day will be held on October 13 at the Christchurch Golf Club.

It will be an Ambrose format with a Shotgun start of 12pm.

Please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to enter


Nearly 1,000 volunteers are needed to help the largest multi-sport event to be held in Christchurch, the Christchurch Casino Golden Oldies Sports Celebration 2018.

Peter McDermott, Golden Oldies Sports Celebration 2018 event director said volunteers are at the heart of events like the Christchurch Casino Golden Oldies Sports Celebration 2018 which will be held over 10 sports over four weeks in April 2018.

“Our team of volunteers will be at the forefront of the visitor experience for the anticipated 10,000 participants, officials and supporters and, in particular, for the nearly 7,000 international visitors,” said McDermott. “This is a way for Cantabrians who aren’t entering a sport to be involved in the festival and be part of a team essential to help everything run smoothly and provide the type of hospitality Cantabrians are renowned for.”

Within the team of volunteers there are sports roles such as umpires, referees, scorers, assisting at aid stations or setting up equipment. There are also volunteer opportunities across all other aspects of the event including transport, way finding, media and so on.

Volunteers must be at least 18 years of age, available for a minimum of three shifts during one or more weeks in April 2018, be able to attend three training sessions, be subject to NZ Police vetting and cover their own travel and accommodation costs if coming from outside Christchurch.

McDermott said volunteers will be provided with branded clothing, meal vouchers, training, certificate of appreciation which can be used as a reference, and invitation to a Finale ‘thank you’ function following the Christchurch Casino Golden Oldies Sports Celebration 2018.

Applications to join the Christchurch Casino Golden Oldies Sports Celebration 2018 volunteer team close on 1 October, 2017, with the first training session scheduled for the end of October.

To find out more or register as a volunteer go to: