It's the photo that summed up the panic on black Tuesday, October 20th 1987.

Young trader Philip Solarz stares anxiously up at the chalkboard at the Auckland exchange, with a phone in each ear.

Just 21 at the time, Solarz is now a financial consultant based in Wellington, having gone on to work for many years at Barclays bank in Hong Kong.

He recently appeared as a witness for the FMA in the Mark Warminger market manipulation case.

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"I'd been on the floor for about a year," he recalls. "But I don't think anyone alive had seen anything like this before. The one previous to that was 1929."

"In those days you didn't have Bloomberg or Reuters, so one phone was back to the office, updating them with prices, and the other was back to the exchange in Wellington to keep prices in line," he says. "So if you wanted to lift an offer in Auckland, then you'd call through to Wellington and ask your agent to lift it there as well."

Dealer Philip Solarz has his hands full during hectic trading at the Auckland exchange on October 20, 1987. Picture / Nigel Marple
Dealer Philip Solarz has his hands full during hectic trading at the Auckland exchange on October 20, 1987. Picture / Nigel Marple

Solarz says he enjoyed the pace of the job.

"It was normal to have a list of 30 or 40 orders you had to process at any one time, so you had to be very focused. It was a very high pressure situation."

But it was also "quite wearying".

For that reason, he doesn't recall much of the partying that is often associated with the industry in the 1980s.

"Come Friday night, everyone was too exhausted to go out."

Everything changed fast after the crash, he recalls.

"A lot of the broking firms went under and everyone sort of lost interest."

Solarz says he considers the New Zealand stock market much more robust these days.

"Back then the headline stocks were names like Chase and Equiticorp.

They were basically leveraged asset shufflers. Whereas today you have some very good companies that generate real earnings."

"It was almost a gambling mentality in those days," he says.

He recalls a time in late 1986 when Fay, Richwhite shares would rise and fall on how well the America's Cup boat was doing in Perth.

"If you saw that stuff now you'd sit up and take notice. Back in those days it was just how it was."