Gladstone Road Historic Area

Gladstone Road, Gisborne

  • Gladstone Road Historic Area. Looking over the township showing buildings, housing, shops and other business premises on both sides of the street. Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, Wgtn, NZ, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.
    Copyright: Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington. Taken By: Department of Tourist and Health Resorts.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Area Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 7017 Date Entered 28th April 1995


Extent of List Entry

Includes buildings between 9 and 37 Gladstone Road, including Eastern Co-op Building Society Building; Albion Club Hotel; National Bank; Sun City Pharmacy Building.

City/District Council

Gisborne District


Gisborne Region


This historic area was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Recommendation for Registration considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

In 1868 the Government purchased 741 acres of land for the town site of Gisborne which was surveyed into sections two years later. Settlement had begun in the area with Captain Read who, in 1852, was invited by local Maori chiefs to establish a trading store. For thirty years this enterprising pioneer shaped and influenced the development of Poverty Bay, establishing Gisborne's first hotel (the Albion) and the courthouse as well as introducing his own early currency system involving £1 notes that only he could cash. At the time of his death in 1878 it was estimated that he had created three quarters of the town's business property.

From the early 1870's through to WWI Gisborne flourished due to the trade generated by a farming boom. Original timber buildings were replaced with masonry structures in the early decades of this century reflecting the town's confidence in the future. The majority of the buildings within the Peel St/Gladstone area are former banks or commercial premises that have had a variety of uses over the years and are significant for their streetscape value.

The Albion, opened by Captain Read in 1868, was the first hotel in Gisborne to offer accommodation as well as provide rooms for the first gentlemen's club in the town.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

The Gladstone Rd area has continued to be the business centre of Gisborne since Captain Read's settlement in the 1870's. The remaining examples of commercial property erected c.1910 are a reminder of the town's prosperity in the early decades of this century.

The Gladstone Rd area is significant as a piece of well preserved early twentieth century townscape. The area also has interesting historical links dating back to the early settlement and commercial development of Gisborne.


Two of the specified buildings within the area are the work of Gisborne architects Burr & Mirfield (established 1912) who designed a large number of buildings within Gisborne's central business area. The buildings within the area are of a similar age and are compatible in terms of scale and design. The survival of these Stripped Classical buildings (unreinforced masonry) constructed pre-1930 is significant because so many within the Hawkes Bay area were lost in the Napier earthquake.


This group of well maintained buildings of similar design, age and scale form attractive, uninterrupted streetscape along one of Gisborne's main roads.


The mix of old and new commercial architecture within this historic business area reflects the changes in Gisborne over the last seventy years. Hotels such as the Albion have played a major role in the town's social activities and development. They have served the local community as venues and gathering places since the 1870's despite considerable changes in lifestyle.


Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Report Written By


Information Sources

Gisborne Herald

14 Dec 2012

December, 1959

Robinson, 1990

Sheila Robinson and John Berry (eds.), Gisborne Exposed: The Photographs of William Crawford 1874-1913, Gisborne, 1990

Historic Places in New Zealand

Historic Places in New Zealand

'George Read - the Forgotten Father of Gisborne', June, 1987

Other Information

A copy of the original report is available from the NZHPT Northern 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.

Historic Area Place Name

Albion Hotel
Eastern Co-operative Building Society (Former)
National Bank Building (Former)
Sun City Pharmacy