An Art Deco building, this is Napier's - and possibly New Zealand's - tour de force in the use of Maori decoration on a European style building.
The ground floor as originally laid out contained manager's office and a public space in rooms on either side of the entrance, two strong-rooms and stationery room at the back, and cloak rooms and toilets in an irregular section extending from the south-west corner. Most of the space, however, was taken up by the banking chamber, twenty-three metres long by thirteen metres wide with a lofty height of six metres. The roof is supported by four columns matching the pilasters around the perimeter, all having ornate, bench-cast fibrous plaster capitals. The coffered ceiling, with its two bays of bay-lights in both square and octagonal shapes, were plastered in situ. Each of the twelve ceiling bays is bordered by a plastered kowhaiwhai pattern painted in the traditional red, black and white. A matching frieze runs round the tops of the walls.
The mezzanine floor at the upper rear of the building is divided into a number of rooms which originally contained a two bedroomed flat in which two of the bachelor staff members lived plus a lunch room and old book room.
Little has changed over the years except for the introduction of modern aluminium entrance doors, the opening up of the panels of the south wall into a two-level extension which has not destroyed the quality of the space, and several re-arrangements of the interior facilities, one of which involved demolition of a strong-room.
Outside a sadly inappropriate verandah, added in 1983 to meet City Council requirements, mars the two street facades and obscures the fine entrance. The opening is flanked by two corbels which echo the design of the column capitals, but with the addition of symbols representing the wealth of the tribe. Otherwise the carving patterns on the exterior are all above verandah level and easily 'readable' from the street. Above each window are panels in which zig zags, which symbolise waves, and patterns representing Ruamano, the whale, combine in a design which, like the ancient aukati (barring the way) border on the parapet, could be mistaken for pure Art Deco embellishment. The entrance can be closed by heavy sliding gates of wrought iron incorporating the whale motif again, which is also seen on the bronze grille over the window above the entrance doors. The opening is flanked by the original wall lamps.
- 1956 Extension to the rear ground floor to enlarge staff facilities; Haughton, Son and Mair, Wellington, Architects.
-1965 Removal of outer wall on south side and construction of two-storey (plus basement) addition. E A and L J Williams, Napier, Architects.
-1983 Addition of awning to exterior on Emerson and Hastings Streets.
1933 - 1934
Extension to the rear ground floor to enlarge staff facilities; Haughton, Son and Mair, Wellington, Architects.
Removal of outer wall on south side and construction of two-storey (plus basement) addition. E A and L J Williams, Napier, Architects.
Addition of awning to exterior on Emerson and Hastings Streets.
Reinforced concrete with some brick, stone (Coromandel granite) and metal work. Interior plasterwork and timber (Queensland maple). Flat Callender's roofing.
Nicolas Cable, 'An appraisal of Archaeological values within the Queen Mary Hospital Site, Hanmer Springs', Prepared for Hurunui District Council by Opus International, June 2004
M. D. N. Campbell, Story of Napier, 1874-1974; Footprints Along the Shore
p9, 147, 182
N.M. Chappell, New Zealand Banker's Hundred: Bank of New Zealand 1861-1961, Wellington, 1961
p40, 79-81, 311-3
Cyclopedia of New Zealand, 1908
Cyclopedia Company, Industrial, descriptive, historical, biographical facts, figures, illustrations, Wellington, N.Z, 1897-1908, Vol. 6, Taranaki, Hawke's Bay, Wellington, 1908
'A Work of Art', 5 November 1934.
Charles Fearnley, Early Wellington Churches, Wellington, 1977
Heather Ives, The Art Deco Architecture of Napier, Napier, 1982
New Zealand Historic Places
New Zealand Historic Places
December 1990 Indigenous Art Deco in New Zealand by Robert McGregor, p 4-8.
'New Branch Premises at Napier for the Bank of New Zealand' Crichton, McKay and Haughton, June 1933.
Original held by Bulleyment-Fortune, Architects, Wellington, copy NZHPT.
'New Staff Rooms Branch Premises - Napier for the Bank of New Zealand', Haughton, Son and Mair, July 1955, original held by Bulleyment-Fortune, Architects, Wellington, copy NZHPT.
'Site Plan of Proposed Additions to BNZ Napier' n.d. E.A. and L.C. Williams, Registered Architects, Napier. Blueprint in BNZ Archives, Wellington.
This historic place was registered under the Historic Places Act 1980. This report includes the text from the original Building Classification Committee report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.
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.