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A Bank Manager with a Heart: Lawrie Cooper's Memoirs

New Zealander Lawrie Cooper's Memoirs

Editors: Nigel Cooper and Robyn Cooper

Lawrence John Leslie Cooper (1908-1998), known as Lawrie, handwrote his memoirs in his eighties after being prompted to do so by an old school friend. By age 38 he had become the youngest Bank of New South Wales manager in NZ when given a few thousand pounds in cash, a revolver, and instructions to open a branch in Petone.

Lawrie writes with candour, warmth and humour about his family of origin, his Maori 'princess' great grandmother, childhood in Canterbury, he 43-year career in the bank starting at age 15, shipboard romance leading to marriage, family life in Eastbourne, Wellington, and his life-changing experiences with Moral Re-Armament (MRA).

Join Lawrie on mischievous escapades with schoolmates involving guns, disappearing coins and electrical circuits. Find out how the young bank clerk, Lawrie, and his flatmates buried a dead horse, and what happened when he hid his lighted cigarette in the drawer as the boss came in. Discover how he challenged another boss for dishonest practices yet managed to retain his friendship. Learn how, as a boss himself, Lawrie cared for his staff and his customers while also opening his home, with Roslyn, to thousands of international visitors, in particular Colombo Plan students.

A Bank Manager with a Heart is also a window on social history and banking in New Zealand over the 20th century, and through Lawrie and Roslyn's encompassing hospitality, a window on the wider world.



Nigel Cooper and Robyn Cooper
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Publishing permission refers to the rights of FANW to publish the full text of this publication on this website.