An American historian has released some amazing footage of Auckland in the 1940s in the hope that Aucklanders can help him solve a mystery.

Historian Rick Helin is hoping that Kiwis can help him to discover who shot the vintage vacation footage which was discovered recently at a garage sale in San Jose, California.

The footage features fascinating scenes of Auckland in the 1940s: trams travelling along Queen Street, school children walking along the streets with fish and chips and ice cream and a panoramic view of the suburbs surrounding Mt Eden.

The sightseer also filmed people playing cricket at Auckland Domain, Ellerslie Racetrack and the Botanic Gardens.


Helin says that although the 16mm films were in very poor condition the footage was converted digitally by the preservation department of The California Pioneers of Santa Clara County.

"This unknown photographer and his wife traveled throughout the Pacific region; including the north and south islands of New Zealand. We are hoping, by some wild chance, someone in New Zealand might be able to help provide the identity of this unknown visitor/photographer from California back in prewar 1940.

"Perhaps someone in New Zealand can recall a visitor staying in their home, or making contact with him."

The traveller also filmed his journey through Wellington and Christchurch.

Anybody with any information about the unknown traveller can contact