Historical Significance or Value
Patterson's Buildings was one of the replacement buildings after the 1913 fire and is constructed of reinforced concrete and steel. It represents the consolidation of Opotiki's role as the main service centre for the eastern and central Bay of Plenty in the late nineteenth to early twentieth centuries.
The building housed some long-running local businesses which provided goods and services to the district, as well as containing a purpose-built billiard saloon as a recreational facility.
AESTHETIC SIGNIFICANCE OR VALUE:
The building's façade forms part of a nearly-intact group of buildings all from a similar era, that gives Opotiki town centre a distinctive appearance and a strong sense of place reflecting a late 19th - early 20th century period townscape. Together the buildings have a strong visual impact on the streetscape. They contribute to the town centre that is described by conservation architects, Jane Matthews and Antony Matthews in the heritage study of the town centre of Opotiki, as one of the best surviving examples of a town centre from the late nineteenth century-early twentieth century in the upper north island; and as one that retains a broad range of building types. The fabric of the former billiard hall is sufficiently intact as to give a strong sense of place as a billiard hall of earlier eras.
ARCHITECTURAL SIGNIFICANCE OR VALUE:
The building was designed by Harry Lesley Daniel West, formerly of Whincup and West who practised in the town from circa1914 through into the 1920s, and whose work contributes a distinctive style to several main buildings in the commercial centre. Their work has possibly had proportionately, more impact on Opotiki than on any other small town, because of the number of buildings designed by their firm compared to bigger developments in other towns.
SOCIAL SIGNIFICANCE OR VALUE:
The building has provided a recreational amenity in the form of the billiard saloon to generations of Opotiki people. The current bar in the former billiard saloon continues an important role in the social life of the community.
Patterson's Buildings and the site it is on have associations with long-standing members of the Opotiki community: the Addis, Parkinson, McGrevy and Patterson families. Patterson was a proficient billiard player of nationally recognised prowess who won a number of tournaments. Many Opotiki people have run businesses within the building or worked as staff members in those businesses. The shoe shop, book shop and billiard saloon have enduring places in people's memories.
(a) The extent to which the place reflects important or representative aspects of New Zealand history:
Patterson's Buildings reflects the role of small coastal towns in the development of districts away from the main centres of population, and the importance of the port to such areas. The district's produce was exported through the port facilities and coastal shipping, goods and passengers arrived via the port.
(e) The community association with, or public esteem for the place:
Former businesses within the building are remembered by members of the local and wider community as being part of the cultural identity of the town.
(k) The extent to which the place forms part of a wider historical and cultural complex or historical and cultural landscape:
Patterson's Buildings is one component of an historical built landscape which includes the Royal Hotel, Rostgard's Building, Shalfoon's (1914) Building, the Regent Theatre and the Strand Arcade. These and other substantial buildings, mostly in permanent materials and/or two-storey, reflect Opotiki's consolidation during the late nineteenth to early twentieth centuries as the main service centre for the rural and coastal districts of the Eastern Bay of Plenty. Opotiki's settlement and growth was initiated and enabled after the confiscation of land from the local iwi, Te Whakatohea, and in this aspect is similar to the development of other militia-founded towns such as Hamilton, Tauranga, Whakatane and Te Awamutu.
SUMMARY OF SIGNIFICNACE OR VALUES:
This place was assessed against, and found to qualify under the following criteria: a, e, k.
It is considered that this place qualifies as a Category II historic place.
Patterson's Buildings is a substantial two-storey building in central Opotiki built at a time when Opotiki had consolidated its development after a period of expansion in the 1880s-1910s. During this period simple single-storey wooden shops such as the first Bridger's and Torrens' buildings and the Bank of New Zealand building were replaced with more imposing two-storey structures and the wooden Masonic Hotel was re-built in more durable materials. In this expansion phase new buildings such as Rostgard's Building and Shalfoon's Building, both two-storey buildings in permanent materials, were constructed. A fire that destroyed several buildings in Church Street in 1913 accelerated this change and led to the re-building of several buildings in more durable materials. Together these and other buildings in the main streets reflect the strength of Opotiki's position in the Bay of Plenty at this time and lend a distinctive character to the main commercial street.
By 1922 Opotiki had developed as the major service centre for the wider district, which had a strong agricultural economy. Its location close to rivers, sea and productive alluvial plains was significant in Maori and later European settlement, with abundant resources, fertile soils and easy access. By the early nineteenth century the iwi Te Whakatohea had established a large village called Pakowhai [Pa Kowhai] at the north end of what is now Opotiki township close to the junction of the Waioeka and Otara Rivers and their outlet to the sea. The property on which Patterson's Buildings was built is within the general rohe of Pakowhai.
Pakowhai was the key reason for the establishment of the Church Missionary Society (CMS) and the Roman Catholic missions at Opotiki in the early 1840s. The CMS mission church, Hiona St Stephen's, built between 1862 and 1864, became pivotal in the development of Opotiki. The killing of its minister, Reverend Carl Volkner, by Hauhau in March 1865 led to the occupation of the area by colonial and imperial troops in September 1865 and the subsequent alienation of the Whakatohea people through the confiscation of their land and property by the colonial government in January 1866. Opotiki was surveyed and laid out to enable allocation of land to militiamen (mostly of the 1st Regiment of Waikato Militia) in return for their service. Each militiaman received a one-acre town section as well as a rural plot of a size relative to his rank. Patterson's Buildings is within Section 2, the one-acre militia allotments.
The whole eastern side of the Church Street block from Elliott Street to King Street was encompassed in only two allotments (Allotments 3 and 28), this block not being intended for commercial use but as residential farmlets for the militiamen. The parcel of land on which Patterson's Buildings is situated was surveyed as Allotment 28 of Section 2 Military Part of Opotiki, being 1 acre (0.405 hectares) in area with a frontage to Church Street of 500 links (100.6 metres) and to King Street 200 links (40 metres). Allotment 28 was awarded to James Hopcraft on 7 September 1869 (backdated to 11 January 1867). Hopcraft was an ensign in the 1st Regiment of Waikato Militia, coming to Opotiki with the East Coast Expeditionary Force in 1865. The establishment of a resident non-military European population in the district led to the development of a commercial town centre and good port facilities to service the growing agricultural industry.
As Church Street developed as the main commercial thoroughfare, the allotments were broken up. On 12 November 1868 Hopcraft on-sold Allotment 28 to William Kelly, who in turn appears to have subdivided or sold parcels of Allotment 28 in 1878. Allotment 3 was also subdivided at about this time. By 1880 the block included the Bank of New Zealand building, a saddler, a blacksmith, a marine engineer, a tailor and the Royal Hotel. Of these, the Royal Hotel and its stables are on the original Allotment 28, and probably J. Turner's tailor shop.
The Opotiki Town District was gazetted in 1882, and by the late 1890s the central shopping and commercial precinct was well established with many of the simple early buildings being replaced with more substantial ones in more durable materials, By the beginning of the twentieth century Opotiki was larger and more populous than Whakatane, Rotorua and Tauranga.
A 1902 survey plan of the approximate site of Patterson's Building shows a small property with shop owned by Thomas S. McGrevy and a building occupied by A. Parkinson. By c.1911 there was an almost continuous row of buildings from the Bank of New Zealand to the Royal Hotel of which a single-storey building and a two-storey building, McGrevy's, were on the site of Patterson's Buildings. In 1913 several buildings, incorporating ten businesses, between the Royal Hotel and the two-storey Strand Arcade (East Coast Guardian building) were destroyed by fire. The fire was stopped from spreading further by the brick wall of the Strand Arcade building and this prompted the borough council to establish an area in town where all buildings had to be constructed of brick or concrete.
Patterson's Building is within the curtilage of a former smithy owned by W.J. (Jack) Addis; this was to the northeast of the site of Patterson's Buildings. 'Dozens' of horseshoes have been found in the rear yard during the digging of drains and erecting a fence. The stables of the Royal Hotel were to the south, adjacent to the rear of Patterson's Buildings and the building may be within the curtilage of their activities also. Addis's blacksmith and wheelwright business was taken over in 1911 by Samuel Patterson, who shifted the business to a newly-built brick building on part of Allotment 27 on King Street, but 'kept the bricks that had surrounded the forge of the old shop, and these were made into an incinerator behind ... the billiard saloon'.
Samuel Patterson came to New Zealand from Northern Ireland in approximately 1887 at the age of two years with his parents and two older sisters. In Opotiki in approximately 1898, at the age of 13 years, Sam Patterson was apprenticed to Jack Addis as a blacksmith and:
'... continued with his trade until called up for military service in the 1914-18 war. He served with the Waikato Mounted [Rifles], and ... on his return home he resumed his trade, but was forced to give it up owing to health reasons. In his youth Mr Patterson represented Opotiki in football and also had his full share of thrills and wins on the bowling green. He was well known throughout New Zealand as a billiard player, being the best in the Bay of Plenty for some years. He served a term as a borough councillor in Opotiki....
The complete land record for the parcel that includes Patterson's Buildings has not been traced, however by 8 April 1914 Samuel Patterson owned a parcel of Allotment 28 measuring 57 feet 6 inches (17.5 m) fronting onto Church Street and adjacent to and south of a small parcel of Samuel McGrevy's; Patterson's plot began 190 feet (57.9 m) from the northwest corner of Allotment 28. The agreement was made when McGrevy was planning to build a concrete wall 90 feet (27.4 m) long and 1 foot 2 inches (36 cm) thick, encroaching seven inches (18 cm) into each owner's property. The agreement makes it clear that there was no building adjoining McGrevy's property in 1914, as in the event of such construction occurring in the future Patterson or his successors in title would be liable to a share of the cost and have to ensure the wall's stability.
In 1922 Sam Patterson commissioned a new retail and office building with billiard saloon attached (Patterson's Buildings), on his Church Street property, Part Allotment 28, but must have continued with the blacksmithing business as well, as in 1930 he is listed as a blacksmith and also billiard saloon owner. Sam Patterson died on 13 February 1962 aged 77 years. His wife Olive Althea died in 1944; they are both buried in Opotiki Cemetery.
Patterson's Buildings was designed by Harry Lesley Daniel West, then of Whakatane. West (c.1887-1937) designed a large number of buildings in the Bay of Plenty with many buildings in Opotiki, Whakatane and Tauranga remaining as a record of his work. Initially in practice with his father Daniel West in Timaru, Harry West shifted to Opotiki in c.1914. In 1915 and 1916 he was in partnership with R.S. Todd Whincup with an office in Rostgard's Building which they designed. Rostgard's Building is one of a number of buildings in central Opotiki which are stylistically similar and are thus thought to have been designed by West or Whincup and West. West shifted to Whakatane c.1921 where he continued to practice as an architect but in sole practice, and to Tauranga in c.1934 where he was the Tauranga Borough Architect until his sudden death on the 29th May 1937, aged just 50. His designs included shops, offices, houses, the Whakatane Plunket Rooms and the Tauranga Rest Rooms, as well as major new blocks for Whakatane Hospital. West embraced the use of concrete and his styles included Edwardian Baroque, Stripped Classical and Art Deco.
The brief for Patterson's Buildings appears to have changed after the time of West's first proposed drawings, which were produced in 1922 with an accompanying specification for a single-storey building, to the final set for the two-storey building. The ground floor designs were essentially the same in each proposal: three shops opening to Church Street, one being a small shop with a ‘saloon' which was probably intended to be a tobacconist-barber's, and with a billiard room behind the small shop. The doors to the (presumed) barber's and the passage to the billiard room opened from a common recess in the front elevation the footpath. The small foyer now includes access to the stairs. The original [second draft] elevations vary from what was actually built; the design shows only decorative swags to each of the raised parapets and the parapet has been built much higher than that shown on the elevations. However the detail of shields, lettering and swags is shown on the first draft. The building was completed in 1923, the date marked on the parapet.
The specification states that ‘the whole of the mild steel & ironwork (wrought & cast) ... will be supplied on the job drilled, cut, & bent as required by the Proprietor whose blacksmith's forge adjoins the site'.
Patterson's Buildings adjoined the building to the north owned by Thomas McGrevy; a party wall agreement was included in the title. The Regent Theatre, adjacent to Patterson's Buildings, was built in a similar (but plainer) style with the projecting string courses of each façade in alignment and it is possible that West designed them both. The plan shows the party wall is common to both buildings, with an additional pier added for strength to the north wall of the upper storey of Patterson's.
The building housed a purpose-built billiard saloon erected in an era when the pastime was at its most popular. Billiards had been a popular pastime since the European settlement of Opotiki, the early hotels offering a billiard table for guests' use. Another billiard saloon, run by Harry Harris, was situated diagonally opposite to Patterson's Buildings in Church Street. That Opotiki could sustain two large billiard saloons from the 1920s points to the sport's continued popularity, and to Opotiki's role as a major service centre for the district.
Patterson's Buildings has had many businesses as tenants over the years. In 1923 Bert Battle's in Patterson's Buildings was advertising a wide range of ladies', gents' and children's footwear. In 1928 a listing from north to south from Sam Patterson's Billiard Saloon gives R. Semple's Books, Stationery, Fancy Goods (Miss Middleton assistant); then Bert Battle's Shoe Shop. It is possible that Charlie Morris (barber and tobacconist) was in front of the saloon (listed in 1928 and 1930, but no address given). H.E. (Bert) Battle was still running the shoe shop and boot making business in 1930 but sold out soon after to Reg Anderson. Anderson went bankrupt during the Depression and the business was bought by Olive Althea Patterson, wife of Sam and mother of Althea (Theo) Thelma Patterson. Theo Patterson joined her brother Jack on the shoe shop staff after studying at Hamilton Girls' High School and Brain's secretarial college in Hamilton. On her retirement Theo Patterson said,
‘... My mother died in 1944 and my father was ill at the same time, so I didn't feel I had any choice other than to go into the business. We used to do a lot of our own travelling and buying, and when the war ended we could sell anything we could get. As a result of travelling around we became well-known.'
According to a local informant, in 1944 the billiard saloon was at the north end, then Harry Parkinson's bookshop, then the shoe shop. The bookshop is remembered for being ‘crammed with stock'. Parkinson's Stationery (Opotiki) Ltd operated at least until 1952.
The building has seen few changes. In 1948 Jack Patterson applied for a permit to build a new storeroom: ‘Owing to recent flood and the damage caused I need this addition so I can have a place to store goods above flood level.' The extension was to be a 16 feet x 9 feet (4.9 metres x 2.7 metres) room, height sloping down from 12 feet (3.7 metres) high against the existing shop wall to 9 feet (2.7 metres). The foundations were specified as concrete, walls as ‘asbestos sheets or other fire-resistant material', roof ‘Malthoid, S.H. iron or fibrolite if procurable'. Patterson stated it would be built by day-labour for an estimated cost of £100.
Local builder George Wilkinson extended the saloon during the time Bruce True worked for him in the late 1940s to early 50s. The extension was to be a 16 feet x 9 feet (4.9 metres x 2.7 metres) room, height sloping down from 12 feet (3.7 metres) high against the existing shop wall to 9 feet (2.7 metres), positioned at the south end of the rear of the building. Bruce True remembers taking down the saloon's original rear wall as being very hard work, using only a sledgehammer to break the solid concrete. On the exterior the join between the original saloon and the addition can be seen clearly. The billiard saloon could then house six billiard tables, aligned across the room. The floor was made of concrete.
In 1962, after the death of their father, Theo Patterson and Jack Patterson became the owners of the property. In 1968 a building permit was issued for a concrete-block toilet block, to be a lean-to at the rear.
In 1985 the ground floor shops were Wood's Bookshop and Patterson's Footwear. Theo Patterson continued to work in the shoe shop until semi-retiring in 1989. In 1995, her share of the property was transferred to Jack (then retired) and his wife Joan.
In June 1995 (council consent given 11 July 1995) leaseholder Keith Raymond Goddard proposed to establish a tavern, Jumpin Jax, in the billiard room. Included in the alterations was the re-modelling of the fireplace. Local builder Bruce True worked on the interior fit-out of the new bar and cupboards. According to Goddard's successor John Brokenshaw who bought the business in 1996, the bar was ‘too up-market and didn't work'. The bar is now called the Rollick'n Crutch and retains one pool table for customers' use.
Jack Patterson died in 2004 and in July 2005 Patterson's Buildings was sold to the current owners, Grant Kirkham Andrews, Glenda Susan Andrews and Michael G. Stewart Trustee Co. (1999) Ltd. They also own the adjacent section behind to the east, originally part of Allotment 27.
In 2005 L.J. Hooker's real estate company occupied the central shop and the Opotiki Electoral Office was in the southern shop. Since late 2005 the southern and central shops have been used as offices by Te Ha o te Whanau Family Trust. Currently the northern shop and the upstairs rooms are vacant.
A condition report required for assessing earthquake strengthening is in the process of being written for the building.
Patterson's Buildings is situated in the heart of the commercial and retail precinct in central Opotiki, with several substantial buildings nearby. These include the Royal Hotel adjacent to the south, Rostgard's Building and Shalfoon's (1914) building across the nearby intersection, and the Regent Theatre and the Strand Arcade immediately to the north. When built, Patterson's Buildings was across Church Street from the Mechanics' Institute and the Opotiki Borough Council office; two other theatres were nearby and the Bank of New Zealand, the Post Office and Opotiki Courthouse were at the north ends of the block. The design of its frontage has elements in common with the adjacent Regent Theatre, which gives continuity to this end of the block of shops.
Patterson's Buildings is designed in a Stripped Classical style that was typical for commercial and retail buildings of the 1920s. Buildings of this period used a simplified range of classical forms and detail to achieve a more modern appearance. A vertical proportion was still used for windows but these were often grouped in pairs or threes to achieve wider window areas.
Patterson's Buildings is a substantial two-storey building constructed of reinforced concrete with a plaster finish. The upper storey façade is symmetrically arranged and divided into six bays with plain pilasters. The parapet steps up above two bays which are further decorated with plaster shields, scrolls and lettering. A projecting string course extends across the bays. The casement windows have a crossed detail to the toplights.
The curved verandah that extends along the front of Patterson's Buildings and the adjacent building to the north is suspended from the pilasters and supported on decorative cast iron posts. Although the posts 'appear to pre-date Patterson's Buildings and have possibly come from an earlier building and been added to Patterson's verandah at some later stage', the specification did stipulate a cast iron column 'to be of a similar design to the posts supporting the adjacent verandah'. The shops and stairs' entrances are not symmetrical in the façade and the central shop was not designed to have display windows. At ground level the original timber shopfront joinery remains to the left of the main door, together with tiled stallboards and a glazed, timber door. The central shop was much larger with paired doors opening from a tiled-floor recess. The doors and window framing have been replaced.
The rear elevation has a plain plastered finish with no decorative elements. The windows in the rear wall are double-hung sash windows arranged either singly or in pairs. Extending from the rear of the northern end of the building is a long single-level room which was built as a billiard room, and continued to have this use until 1995 when it was converted to a bar. The billiard hall/bar has a solid concrete floor throughout, currently lined with square lino tiles. Three skylights were built in the ceiling and roof to provide more light for the billiard tales. The three air vents in the ceiling had only slats for ventilation. The billiard hall contains a fireplace on the southern wall. The bar manager Brokenshaw has lined the fireplace with steel plates as the lining was crumbling. When built, an eight-inch (20.3 cm) platform ran round the north, south and part of the east walls.
The building has a corrugated iron roof to the two-storey building and to the single-level billiard room at the rear.
The interior remains largely unchanged. The ground floor is concrete. The specification describes Rimu skirtings, kauri doors, kauri and Totara window sashes and frames. Ceilings were described as 'Petros' plaster sheets (rough cast), with Rimu battens. This detail all appears to be intact together with an original stair with timber balusters designed in Art Nouveau style. The upper floor has a series of rooms along the front, with an open plan area in the centre that has skylights. The layout and detail all appear intact with the partition walling being additional to the original open plan. A fireplace at the rear of the building is not shown on the original plan. A door in the rear wall gave access to a flight of stairs on the exterior of the building.
Architect: Harry Lesley Daniel West
Builder: saloon extension late 1940s-50s George Wilkinson
11.9.48: Plan for 4.9m x 2.7m addition to rear of shop for storage
1945 - 1955
The saloon was extended by 20 ft (6m)
11.2.1957: Drainage plan - new drains planned to run between rear and Royal Hotel
5.2.1968: Plan for proposed toilet at rear, to be a lean-to
27.6.1995: Proposed extension for Jumpin Jax and establish a tavern inside building.
8.10.1996: Proposed alterations to restaurant
The exterior is constructed of reinforced concrete with a plaster finish. Corrugate iron roof. Native timbers for framing and joinery.
28th March 2008
Report Written By
Auckland Provincial Trades Directory
Auckland Provincial Trades Directory
Cleave's Auckland Provincial Directory
Cleave's Auckland Provincial Directory, Auckland
Suburban, Provincial, Commercial, Municipal and General Directory 1894; Arthur Cleave & Co., Auckland, 1894.
John C M Cresswell, Opotiki: the Birth of a Small Town, J. Gover, Whangarei, 2003
Wises Post Office Directories
Wises Post Office Directories
Leighton's Auckland Provincial Directory
Leighton's Auckland Provincial Directory
Directory April, 1930-March 1931, Leightons Limited, Auckland, 1930.
New Zealand Gazette
New Zealand Gazette
'Proclamation by Governor George Grey', 1866: 17.
New Zealand Society of Genealogists
'New Zealand Cemetery Records' [microform], New Zealand Society of Genealogists, Auckland, 1985-1997.
Opotiki County Council, 1977
Opotiki County Council, Opotiki 100 Years: 1877-1977, Whakatane, 
'Addis Bros came to Opotiki in 1866', 29 November 1984
Obituary Mr Sam Patterson', Opotiki News, 6.3.1962
Ranginui Walker, Opotiki-Mai-Tawhiti: Capital of Whakatohe, Penguin Group (NZ) Ltd, Auckland, 2007.
A fully referenced Registration Report is available from the NZHPT Lower Northern Area 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.