Giff Vivian in 1931
|Batting style||Left-hand bat|
|Bowling style||Slow left-arm orthodox|
After attending Mount Albert Grammar School in Auckland, Giff Vivian made his first-class debut for Auckland in December 1930. He scored 37 and 81 against Canterbury. After two more games he was selected in the New Zealand team to tour England in 1931.
A forceful left-handed middle-order batsman and left-arm spin bowler, in 25 matches on the tour he made 1002 runs at 30.36, with centuries against Oxford University (his first century, 135 out of a team total of 488 on the first day) and Yorkshire (101 on a turning wicket, with four sixes). He also took 64 wickets at 23.75, with a best return of 6 for 70 against Glamorgan. Still aged only 18, he played in the Second and Third Tests, making 51 on debut and taking four wickets in the two matches.
In the first match of the 1931-32 season he scored 165 against Wellington out of an Auckland total of 285. In the next match he took 4 for 73 and 5 for 62 against Otago, and then 5 for 59 against Canterbury. He did not play in the First Test against South Africa later that season, but restored to the team for the Second Test he made 100 and 73 (top-scoring in each innings) and took four wickets. "The 1931-32 season," wrote Dick Brittenden, "supported those who claimed he was New Zealand's finest cricketer." 
He played the First Test against England in 1932-33 but was injured during the match and missed the Second Test. In 1933-34 he made 263 runs at 52.60 and took 9 wickets at 22.33; in 1934-35, now captaining Auckland, he made 343 runs at 49.00. In 1935-36 he took 5 for 98 and 6 for 92, as well as scoring 60 and 19 not out, against Canterbury. He appeared in all five matches New Zealand played against strong MCC touring teams in 1935-36 and 1936–37, and was again selected to tour England in 1937, this time as vice-captain to Curly Page.
He scored 1118 runs at 29.42 and took 49 wickets at 36.91, handicapped by a pulled leg muscle for much of the tour. Opening the innings, he scored 58 and 50 in the Second Test, and 57 in what turned out to be his last Test innings in the Third Test, as well as taking 8 wickets in the series.
In the three matches of the 1938-39 season he scored 132 runs at 33.00 and took 21 wickets at 16.66, including 5 for 46 against Otago and 6 for 49 and 4 for 59 in his last match against Wellington (match figures of 58.4-21-108-10 in an innings victory that gave Auckland the Plunket Shield).
He served in the artillery during the Second World War, and after the war the demands of his business and the affliction of an injured back prevented his return to cricket. However, he served as a New Zealand selector for several years.