Hawke's Bay Farmers Building (Former)

200 Queen Street West And 124 And 128 Market Street North, Hastings

  • Hawke's Bay Farmers Building (Former).
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Helen McCracken.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 1088 Date Entered 30th June 2006

Locationopen/close

Extent of List Entry

Extent of registration includes the land comprised in Lots 8, 9, and 10 of Deposited Plan 745, Hawke's Bay Registry, and the building and its fittings and fixtures thereon.

City/District Council

Hastings District

Region

Hawke's Bay Region

Legal description

Lots 8-10 DP 745; Units A, B, and C DP 18556; Unit A DP 18556 (basement and ground floor) (CTHBK4/1419); Unit B DP 18556 (first floor) (CTHBK4/1420); Unit C DP 18556 (second floor) (CT HBK4/1420), Hawke's Bay Land District

Summaryopen/close

The HBFCA Head Office Building, constructed in 1929, was the second building constructed on the corner of Market and Queen Street in Hastings by the Hawke's Bay Farmers Co-operative Association (HBFCA), which was founded in 1891.

Established to enable primary producers to secure a financial interest in the marketing of their produce, the HBFCA expanded its activities to include retail outlets for a range of merchandise. In 1899, the HBFCA erected a building on Market Street. The HBFCA building that stands today, on the corner of Market and Queen Streets was built after the original building was destroyed by fire. The new structure was located immediately adjacent to a garage and service station that was built for the HBFCA in 1925.

The three storied building was designed in 1929 by the Wellington architectural firm of Edmund Anscombe and Associates. It was used as the head office of the HBFCA. On the ground floor there was a large department store, which reflected changing retailing practices and contributed to Hastings' role as the region's main shopping centre. A tearooms and clubrooms for country women were located on the first floor, while the second floor was occupied by offices.

The HBFCA Head Office Building is an example of a modernist building that predates the 1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake. Built with reinforced concrete foundations and a similar superstructure, the building suffered only superficial damage from the earthquake. The interior of the building has been altered many times. Ceilings have been lowered and, especially on the ground floor, original wood panelling has been covered over. Since 1970, several building consents have been issued for the alteration of the interior space.

The HBFCA Head Office Building was owned by the HBFCA until the early 1980s. In March 1985 the building was split into unit titles. Units A and B, the ground and first floors, are privately owned. The building's present occupants include Beds'R'Us, AMI Insurance, and Wine Country Credit Union.

The HBFCA Building was thought to have been classified 'C' by the NZHPT as a building that merited preservation, under Section 35(1)(c), of the Historic Places Act 1980 by the NZHPT Board at a meeting held on 7 April 1983 (BD Paper HP2/1983). An audit of the register has indicated that this Board Paper was invalid and the building could not therefore be considered to be registered. The proposal to register the building was publicly notified and the Board will consider the proposal in May 2006.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

Historical Value:

The HBFCA was a successful local business and this building is a reminder of its importance to rural Hawke's Bay and the local economy. The HBFCA was based in Hastings and the building, which has had a presence on the site for almost eighty years, was the organisation's head office, also housing a department store.

Aesthetic Value

The HBFCA Head Office Building has high aesthetic value for its ordered and well balanced facades, which dominate an important corner site in the Hastings CBD. In addition to its townscape values, the building has interior spaces of considerable aesthetic value, being those that retain original finishes and joinery, especially those that are panelled in oak.

Technological Value

The reinforced concrete structure of this building has technical value, especially in the light of it surviving the Hawke's Bay earthquake of 1931. There is also some technical value in features such as the original cage lift, and in finishes such as bronze joinery and oak panelling.

Architectural Value

The building is an important example of the Stripped Classical style of architecture, marking the transition between the Classicism of the early 20th century and Modernism, which took firm hold in New Zealand in the 1950s. It is a very competent design, by a well-regarded architect Edmund Anscombe.

Social Value

There are two parts to the social and historical use of this building. The first is the relationship this building had with the farming community, in particular its co-operative members. Secondly its more recent retail history, which has brought many other people into the building. Over its history this building has had a significant social role in the community and is a distinctive landmark to the people of Hastings.

(a) The extent to which the place reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand history:

Rural service companies, particularly farmers' co-operatives, played an important role in the development of the rural economy in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. This in turn had a considerable influence on the prosperity of the entire country through the success of primary producers. The HBFCA was one of many such co-operatives and was a very successful and influential company in its heyday.

(b) The association of the place with events, persons, or ideas of importance in New Zealand history:

Farmers' co-operatives, of which the HBFCA was just one, are important organisations in rural history in that they offered an alternative to private companies, who did not necessarily act in the interests of farmers. The farmers' co-ops live on in some of the companies that took them over, although that is not the case with the HBFCA.

(g) The technical accomplishment or value, or design of the place:

There is significant technical accomplishment in the design of the reinforced concrete structure of the HBFCA Head Office Building, since it survived the Hawke's Bay earthquake of 1931 unscathed. The building is also important architecturally as a very good example of the Stripped Classical style, well balanced and modulated for a busy central city intersection. It is an important part of the streetscape and the authentic interior spaces have aesthetic value.

(k)The extent to which the place forms part of a wider historical and cultural complex or historical and cultural landscape:

The HBFCA Head Office Building is part of the central business district of Hastings, an urban landscape that is dominated by buildings of the 1930s, which were built after the Hawke's Bay earthquake of 1931. Although larger in scale than most of these buildings, and in a less common style (Stripped Classical rather than Art Deco), the building fits in its context and plays an important role as a reminder of the prosperity of the city in the 1920s. Built on the site of the original, 1899 HBFCA building, the HBFCA Head Office Building is adjacent to the HBFCA Garage, which was completed in 1925.

Linksopen/close

Construction Professionalsopen/close

Anscombe, Edmund

Anscombe (1874-1948) was born in Sussex and came to New Zealand as a child. He began work as a builder's apprentice in Dunedin and in 1901 went to America to study architecture. He returned to Dunedin in 1907 and designed the School of Mines building for the University of Otago. The success of this design gained him the position of architect to the University. Five of the main University buildings were designed by Anscombe, as well as Otago Girls' High School and several of Dunedin's finest commercial buildings including the Lindo Ferguson Building (1927) and the Haynes building.

Anscombe moved to Wellington about 1928 and was known for his work as the designer of the Centennial Exhibition (1939-1940). Anscombe had travelled extensively and had visited major exhibitions in Australia, Germany and America. The practice of Edmund Anscombe and Associates, Architects, had offices in the Dunedin, Wellington and Hawkes Bay districts, and Anscombe's buildings include the Vocational Centre for Disabled Servicemen, Wellington (1943), Sargent Art Gallery, Wanganui, and several blocks of flats including Anscombe Flats, 212 Oriental Parade (1937) and Franconia, 136 The Terrace (1938), both in Wellington. As well as being interested in the housing problem, Anscombe held strong views concerning the industrial advancement of New Zealand.

(See also http://www.dnzb.govt.nz/dnzb/ )

Additional informationopen/close

Historical Narrative

The Hawke's Bay Farmers Co-operative Association Limited (HBFCA) was founded in 1891. It was established to enable the region's primary producers to secure a financial interest in the marketing of their produce. Several similar cooperative associations were established in other rural districts, with coordination provided at a national level by the Farmers Co-operative Association N.Z. Limited. The activities of the HBFCA quickly expanded and it soon operated grain and produce stores, grass-seed dressing plants, warehouses, and retail outlets for merchandise. In 1899, the HBFCA erected a building on Market Street with what was then the largest floor space in Hastings. Along with the firm of de Pelichet McLeod, the HBFCA helped to generate growth in Hastings' trade, capturing much of the rural business that had previously gone to Napier and Port Ahuriri. In 1925, the HBFCA opened a service station and garage adjacent to their head office building.

Branches of the HBFCA were also opened in other towns, including Napier, Waipukurau, Dannevirke, Wairoa, Takapau, and Woodville. Business interests continued to broaden. In 1948, the HBFCA activities were listed as those of 'Wool Brokers, Stock Agents & Auctioneers; Insurance & Shipping Agents; Grain, Seed & General Mchts; Garage Proprietors; Land & Estate Agents'.

The HBFCA Head Office Building that stands today on the corner of Market and Queen Streets was erected after the original building was destroyed by fire. While some secondary sources claim that it was built in 1928, the plans are dated 29 March 1929. The building was designed by the Wellington architectural firm of Edmund Anscombe and Associates. Along with W.H. Gummer and J.W. Chapman, Anscombe has been described as 'the most eminent architect to have worked in Hastings'. Believing that the prosperous town would offer further work opportunities, Anscombe set up a branch of his practice in the HBFCA Head Office Building. The reconstruction period that followed the 1931 earthquake provided Anscombe's firm with an unexpected source of new work.

Upon completion, head office of the HBFCA was transferred to the three-storeyed building on the corner of Market and Queen Streets. On the ground floor, there was a large department store that stocked groceries, china, footwear, and hardware. A tearooms and clubrooms for country women were located on the first floor, while the second floor was occupied by offices. The new department store marked a development in the retail trade as existing family businesses were threatened by the advent of chain stores and the entry of stock and station agents into the grocery, hardware, furnishing, and clothing trade. The new Farmers department store also reflected the growth of retail businesses in Hastings, which had become the region's main shopping centre.

The HBFCA Head Office Building is an example of a modernist building, predating the 1931 earthquake. It has been noted as Hastings' 'most imposing and prominent survivor' of the quake. Built with reinforced concrete foundations and a similar superstructure, the building suffered only superficial damage. Following the quake, the building was reconditioned under Anscombe's direction. Since then, the interior of the HBFCA Head Office Building, which housed the town's first lift, has been altered many times. Ceilings have been lowered and, especially on the ground floor, original wood panelling has been covered over. Since 1970, several building consents have been issued for the alteration of the interior space.

In 1982, the HBFCA merged with Dalgety NZ Ltd, creating HBF-Dalgety Limited. The HBFCA Head Office Building was the headquarters of the new company. In March 1985 the building was split into unit titles and are privately owned. Among the building's present occupants are Beds'R'Us, AMI Insurance, and Wine Country Credit Union.

Physical Description

The HBFCA Head Office Building is located on one of Hastings' main streets in the central business district. A very prominent building, the structure is three storeys high and features long facades on both Queens Street West and Market Street North. These facades are symmetrical and are articulated by a grid of columns through the first and second floors, which support a frieze with roundels; above this is a stepped parapet at roof level, emphasising the column grid. The windows are grouped in threes and are set back from the facade in tall narrow reveals, with recessed spandrel panels between the first and second floor windows. The building can be described as Stripped Classical in style, where Classical details (in the case of the HBFCA Head Office Building the frieze, roundels, parapet and mouldings) are used to articulate and lightly decorate an otherwise quite utilitarian concrete framed building.

The facades were originally finished in imitation stonework, using coloured cement plaster, but this has now been painted over. The ground floor has large display windows under the verandah; while the windows and shop fronts have been modernised, the verandah, which is hung from the building, retains is original and quite ornate pressed metal soffit. The initials HBF are worked in terrazzo in the floor of the porch at the main corner entrance.

Inside the building, through the main entrance on Queen Street West, there are some special features remaining from 1929, in particular the original cage lift; bronze window joinery; and on both the first and second floors, oak panelling and oak joinery. The bronze and oak suggest a building of very high quality, as befits not only the organisation that built it but the architect Anscombe who designed it. The rooms that retain their oak panelling are now rare, even nationally, as authentic commercial spaces of the 1920s.

The structure is also visible in parts of the interior, and shows 'mushroom' columns (splayed out at the top) supporting thickened concrete floor slabs; these columns were a feature of the tea rooms in its original form. One end elevation of the building shows a plain grid of columns and beams with infill panels in cavity brickwork. The roof is timber-framed and clad in corrugated iron.

Notable Features

Structure, main street facades, cage lift, oak panelling and joinery.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1930 -

Modification
1970 -
Building consent issued for alterations to commercial building - verandah

Addition
1973 -
Building consent issued for new garage

Modification
1977 -
Building consent issued for alterations to commercial building - business premises

Modification
1985 -
Building consent issued for alterations to commercial building

Modification
1989 -
Building consent issued for alterations to commercial building - add to office

Modification
1994 -
Building consent issued for retail office fit out

Construction Details

The building is constructed in reinforced concrete, finished in coloured plaster (now painted)

Completion Date

11th April 2006

Report Written By

Michael Kelly & Chris Cochran

Information Sources

Boyd, 1984

Mary Boyd, City of the Plains, A History of Hastings, Wellington, 1984

Hallett, 1991

P. Hallett and P. Shaw, Spanish Mission Hastings: Styles of Five Decades, Napier, 1991

Wright, 2001 (3)

Matthew Wright, Town and Country: The History of Hastings and District, Hastings, 2001.

Other Information

A fully referenced version of this report is available from the NZHPT Central Region Office.

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.