Bank of New Zealand

Hood Street And Victoria Street, Hamilton

  • Bank of New Zealand, Hamilton. Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Steve Parker. Taken By: Steve Parker – Spark-Photo. Date: 26/01/2014.
  • Bank of New Zealand, Hamilton. Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Steve Parker . Taken By: Steve Parker – Spark-Photo. Date: 26/01/2014.
  • Bank of New Zealand, Hamilton. Image courtesy of -
    Copyright: geoff-inOz. Taken By: geoff-inOz. Date: 3/11/2009.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Able to Visit
List Number 768 Date Entered 19th March 1987


City/District Council

Hamilton City


Waikato Region

Legal description

Lot 1 DPS 65131


This bank was one of the first substantial commercial buildings constructed in Hamilton, being built in 1878. It was erected by the Bank of New Zealand (BNZ) on the western side of the Waikato River, which was the most commercially important part of the town. The BNZ was the second bank to set up business in colonial Hamilton, having arrived in 1875. Its construction of a large, permanent bank displayed growing confidence in the town as an economic centre after the arrival of the railway connection to Auckland in 1877. The BNZ was heavily involved in the development of the Waikato after the third New Zealand - or Waikato - War (1863-1864), investing substantial amounts of capital in local enterprises.

The two-storey bank was erected in a prestigious location, opposite the ferry crossing to Hamilton East. It was designed by Edward Mahoney, who was responsible for other important buildings in the region. The adoption of an ornate Italianate style reinforced its prominence, as did its use of durable materials such as roofing slate and local brick. The latter was rendered to resemble masonry, and improved the building's security against theft and fire. The interior contained a banking chamber near the front door, with a manager's room to one side. The bank's early managers were influential members of the local community, and were provided with suitably well-appointed accommodation at the rear of the building and on the first floor. Later expansion of the BNZ's business saw single-storey extensions on both Hood and Victoria Streets in 1908-1909 and 1932-1933, using a similar Italianate style. These promoted notions of stability and tradition, but concealed significant changes to the internal layout such as the creation of a large banking hall. The bank was vacated by the BNZ in the 1980s, after which the main facades were secured by a protection notice issued by the Minister of Conservation due to a threat of demolition. Its interior was substantially affected by alterations in 1994, during its conversion to other uses.

The building is significant as one of the oldest commercial structures left in Hamilton, and is the city's earliest surviving bank. It is important for demonstrating Hamilton's growing prosperity in the later colonial period, and its role as a commercial centre in the region. The building reflects the growth of the BNZ, one of New Zealand's major financial institutions, and its part in the colonisation of the Waikato. It is of value to the history of banking, illustrating a number of social issues including the importance of bank managers in the local community and the relationship between accommodation and work. The bank contains valuable evidence of colonial construction technology and materials in the Waikato, including the production of local bricks. It is important as one of the earliest surviving buildings in Hamilton designed by a known architect, and among the first in the town carried out by Edward Mahoney. The building is significant for reflecting the origins of Victoria Street, the main commercial thoroughfare in Hamilton. It is a well-known and popular local landmark, adding to the historical and visual quality of its immediate environment.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

Mahoney, Edward

Edward Mahoney (1824-1895)

Edward Mahoney emigrated from Cork, Ireland with his wife Margaret and three children. The Mahoneys arrived in Auckland in 1856 where Edward set up as a building and timber merchant. In 1876 he established the architectural practice that later became Edward Mahoney & Sons, which for over thirty years designed and supervised construction of many Catholic buildings as well as churches for other denominations.

The Church of St John the Baptist, Parnell (1861) and St Mary's Convent Chapel (1866) are two of the earliest surviving ecclesiastical buildings designed by Edward Mahoney and reflect the gradual evolution from simple Gothic Revival structures to more ambitious and creative use of the Gothic form such as may be seen in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Khyber Pass (1881); and St Patrick's Cathedral, the latter completed in 1901.

Edward Mahoney was a founding member of the Auckland Institute of Architects, attending the first meeting in December 1880 where he was appointed honorary treasurer. He became president of the Institute in 1883. His sons Thomas (1855?-1923) and Robert (1862-1895) joined him in practice in 1876 and the early 1880s respectively.

Upon Edward's retirement in 1885, Thomas and Robert carried on the practice. After Robert's death in 1895, Thomas changed the firm's name to E. Mahoney & Son. The Mahoneys designed a wide variety of buildings including the Auckland Customhouse, hotels, commercial buildings and houses, their best-known surviving domestic buildings being the Pah, at Hillsborough (1877) and the Dilworth Terrace Houses, Parnell (1899). Their ecclesiastical buildings included St Mary's Church of the Assumption, Onehunga (1888) and St Benedict's Church, Newton (1888).

The firm of Edward Mahoney & Son continued to practice for a short period after Thomas Mahoney’s death in 1923, but was eventually dissolved in 1926.

Source: NZHPT Registration Report for Bank of New Zealand (Former), Devonport (Register no. 4511).

Additional informationopen/close

Notable Features

Registration covers the building, its fixtures and finishes. It also includes recent modifications.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1877 - 1878

1908 - 1909
Hood Street extension, with internal reorganisation

1932 - 1933
Victoria Street extension, and interior modifications

Balustrading on parapet filled in

1994 -
Substantial internal modifications

Completion Date

21st November 2001

Report Written By

Martin Jones

Information Sources

Cyclopedia of New Zealand, 1902

Cyclopedia Company, Industrial, descriptive, historical, biographical facts, figures, illustrations, Wellington, N.Z, 1897-1908, Vol.2, Christchurch, 1902

pp.739 & 746

Griffin, 1975

R.H. Griffin, A Century of Service: BNZ Hamilton 1875-1975, [Hamilton], 1975


New Zealand Historic Places Trust (NZHPT)

New Zealand Historic Places Trust

'Bank of New Zealand Building, Corner Hood and Victoria Streets, Hamilton', Buildings Classification Committee Report, Wellington, 1986

Norris, 1964

H.C.M. Norris, Settlers in Depression: A History of Hamilton, New Zealand 1875-1894, Auckland, 1964


Other Information

NZHPT Heritage Order (1987)

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.