Peel Street Historic Area

Peel Street, Gisborne

  • Peel Street Historic Area, Gisborne.
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Area Public Access Able to Visit
List Number 7019 Date Entered 28th April 1995


Extent of List Entry

Includes buildings from the corner of Gladstone Road and along Peel Street to Read's Quay. Includes Charlie Brown's Building; The Te Rau Press Building; Albert Buildings.

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 1870s 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 Te Rau Press established itself in Gladstone Rd in 1924. Prior to that the building, built by James Erskine, was used for such things as a billiard saloon and social hall.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

The Peel St/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 Albert Building is 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 an attractive, uninterrupted streetscape along one of Gisborne's main roads.

The Peel St 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.


The mix of old and new commercial architecture within this historic business area reflects the changes in Gisborne over the last seventy years.


Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Report Written By


Information Sources

Gisborne Herald

14 Dec 2012

December 1959

Wises Post Office Directories

Wises Post Office Directories


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

Albert Buildings
Charlie Brown's Building
Te Rau Press Building (Former)