A search for answers has been sparked by the return of a mysterious postcard to Napier, almost a century after being written there.

The postcard - penned by a soldier enjoying his final days of leave in Napier during World War One - was recently found by Waikato resident, Mark Davey, when it fell out of an old book.

As it described events in Napier, the Te Aroha resident sent it to the Napier i-SITE Visitor Centre in the hope a local might know something about it.

Despite being dated 26 February, 1917, the postcard is in excellent condition. It is addressed to a "Mr and Mrs Crawford", and appears to have been signed by an "Alf Bowen".


It reads, " 'Here we are again' as the H B boys say. Hope this finds you both OK, still alive and kicking. Am spending 4 days of my final leave in Napier and only wish I could stop longer as one is apt to strike a lot of nice people when one is in khaki.

"The band played on the parade last night, and just fancy, I didn't get home till 11. Hope all around the district are A1. We expect to leave around the end of March... Best wishes to both of you, Alf Bowen."

The postcard might spark a memory for a Napier local, Mr Davey said, or it could have been sent from Napier to the district in which he found it.

He said his wife was a member of the Te Aroha Mountain Lions Ladies' Club, who operate a book shop.

"The book was one of a large number we collect from all around the district - Te Aroha, Te Puke, Waihi and Hamilton."

Mr Davey did not recall the title of the book he found the card in, but says it was in a "tatty" condition and therefore unsaleable.

"The postcard just fell out. I'd like to be able to help find relatives of the people mentioned in the card," he said.

Enquiries are also being made via the Auckland War Memorial Museum. If no family comes forward, the postcard will be passed to MTG Hawke's Bay.

-Anyone with any information can contact the Napier City Council Communications and Marketing team, by emailing comms@napier.govt.nz, or phoning 834 4144​