David Roy Grant was born in Rotorua in 1940 and grew up on a dairy farm near the small town of Matakana, north of Auckland. He trained as a carpenter on leaving school, and then undertook his theological training at the University of Otago in Dunedin from between 1964 and 1970. Following his graduation travelled to Princeton Theological Seminary in the United States with his young family and gained a Master of Theology.
Returning to New Zealand David was parish minister at Knox Church in Feilding, a consultant for the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand's Parish Development and Mission Department, a parish minister at Scots Church in Hamilton and Knox Church in Dunedin.
David and his wife Alison retired to Snells Beach near Matakana in 2003 and he continued to craft words and wood. He spent six years researching and writing his book
We Gathered Here - A History of Matakana, which was published in 2017.
In 2018 David was diagnosed with mesothelioma, cancer of the lung lining, as a result of his exposure to asbestos while a building apprentice in the late 1950s. He passed away on 4 June 2019.
Alison and daughter Helen continued to edit the stories, and his granddaughter Caley drew the chapter illustrations, many of which were symbols from the stoles that David wore when he preached each Sunday. Local Dunedin artist Pauline Bellamy was commissioned to produce the cover art and Otago Polytechnic design student Nicole Espinosa designed the book.
David's book was published in November 2019 and the book launch was celebrated at Knox Church, Dunedin, the home of Blue-eyed Blonde and Grey-haired Granddad.
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The Blue-eyed Blonde and
Grey-haired Granddad stories
Lakeside Conversations is a book of nine stories that David R Grant wrote as sermons, while minister of Knox Church, Dunedin in the late 1990s.
It follows the conversations of a young blue-eyed blonde and her grey-haired granddad as they contemplate life’s mysteries from the deck of their lakeside family holiday cottage.
It was a scene you don’t observe too often;
a conversation you are seldom privileged to eavesdrop.
Late Saturday afternoon at the family crib,
mid January – the last day at the lake.
The wise, old, grey grandfather
and the late teens, fresh, blond, blue-eyed granddaughter.
These two had built up a rapport over the years,
mainly because, as it usually is with grandparents,
they did not have to do the disciplining,
or control the purse strings, or live with the mess.
Privileged people, grandparents.
They sat on the crib deck,
drinking their favourite South African port,
watching the sun sink over the Alps.
The conversation centred around the future,
sometimes reaching philosophical heights,
sometimes reaching the depths of mundane particularities.
Important choices were looming,
second year in geology at Canterbury,
and Blond Blue-eyes
was seeking the wisdom of grey hair….