National Bank of New Zealand

193 Princes Street, Dunedin

  • National Bank of New Zealand. Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Shelley Morris. Taken By: Shelley Morris – Shells . Date: 4/01/2016.
  • National Bank of New Zealand. Building detail. Images courtesy of
    Copyright: Shelley Morris. Taken By: Shelley Morris – Shells . Date: 4/01/2016.
  • National Bank of New Zealand. Interior detail. Image courtesy of
    Copyright: Derek Smith. Taken By: Derek Smith - travelling-light. Date: 12/02/2011.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 1 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 2222 Date Entered 27th July 1988 Date of Effect 27th July 1988


City/District Council

Dunedin City


Otago Region

Legal description

Pt DP 1729

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

The Head Office of the National Bank is in London and the National Bank of New Zealand was established in 1872. Prior to the erection of this building the bank had only a two storied building on the site and the North Dunedin Branch on the corner of George and Hanover Streets was rather more impressive. The Head Office of the bank in Dunedin regained its superiority with the erection of this building.

Architectural Significance:

This is a relatively ornate large building and one of the few Dunedin buildings to show the Baroque tendencies of Edwardian architecture. It ranks with the Law Courts and the Town Hall in representing the important stone buildings of the beginning of the century.

Townscape/Landmark Significance:

This is a massive Edwardian-Baroque façade of an unusual colour for Dunedin and contrasts well with the classical Bank of New Zealand further down the street.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

C. F MacDonald and Co.

Charles Fleming MacDonald and Co had been builders in Dunedin since 1906 with premises at 11 Bond Street.

Additional informationopen/close

Physical Description

Architectural Description (Style):

The style is Edwardian-Baroque. The rusticated stone work and arched and keystoned windows which are also pedimented on the first floor are accentuated in the Baroque manner of the Edwardian period. Massive pilasters flank the upper two storey windows without any supporting columns beneath. The roof line has a simple central parapet flanked by two elaborately scrolled Baroque gables. The alternation of rough and smooth stones on the vertical courses between the windows on the second storey is also Baroque.


The interior had been modernised but part of the coffered ceiling in the banking chamber and the entrance columns are still in place. The marble staircase is still there. The façade is unchanged except for the basement windows at pavement level which once had iron grilles and have now been filled in with concrete.

Notable Features

The ornamental Edwardian-Baroque façade.

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1912 -

Construction Details

In a report in the Otago Witness, 15/3/1911, it was stated that this four storied building was to be built in ferro-concrete with a 'trachite' façade. The stonework of the façade is an unusual grey-brown stone on the lowest storey and yellow brown on the upper storeys. According to Dr Bruce Hayward, Geological Survey, the lowest storey is faced with trachite from Melbourne and the upper storeys with Hawkesbury sandstone from Sydney. The lowest storey is of undressed blocks, the first storey a mixture of sawn and rough blocks and the upper two storeys are faced with blocks of sawn and carved sandstone. The side walls of the building are plain plaster work. The banking chamber had no internal columns, and had a coffered plaster ceiling with a central glazed dome supported by ferro-concrete beams. The fittings were polished cedar and 'oxidised metal'. The upper storeys included offices which were reached by a side door leading to a marble staircase or the 'electric elevator'. The strong room was to be placed in the centre of the basement and there was to be provision for resident officers and a caretaker with a flat roof at the back for drying laundry. The Otago Witness published an artist's impression of the façade which is identical with the present façade except for the lower storey windows which have slightly different proportions and sunburst fan lights instead of two panes in the two lateral windows.

Information Sources

Cyclopedia of New Zealand, 1905

Cyclopedia Company, Industrial, descriptive, historical, biographical facts, figures, illustrations, Wellington, N.Z, 1897-1908, Vol. 4 Otago and Southland, Cyclopedia Company, Christchurch, 1905

Otago Witness

Otago Witness

15 March 1911

Other Information

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.