Bank of New Zealand (Former)

59 Arawa Street, Matamata

  • Bank of New Zealand (Former).
    Copyright: NZ Historic Places Trust. Taken By: Fiona Low. Date: 28/05/2013.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Place Category 2 Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 4224 Date Entered 5th September 1985 Date of Effect 5th September 1985


Extent of List Entry

Extent includes the land described as Sec 4 Blk VI Matamata Township (RT SA238/144), South Auckland Land District and the building known as Bank of New Zealand (Former) thereon

City/District Council

Matamata-Piako District


Waikato Region

Legal description

Sec 4 Blk VI Matamata Township (RT SA238/144), South Auckland Land District


The Bank of New Zealand (‘BNZ’) building was opened in 1920 in Arawa Street, Matamata. It was one of the first permanent buildings to be constructed and was a welcome addition to the growing town. The two-storied and imposing building is a representative of Edwardian Baroque architecture and the symbol of a national banking institution. Standing in the centre of Matamata, the building is a permanent reminder of the progress and prosperity of the town.

The first agency of the BNZ opened from Mr T P L. Weitmayer’s shop in Matamata on 21 February 1906. This BNZ agency was operated by staff from Hamilton and opened once a month. In 1911 the Morrinsville branch of the BNZ took over the responsibility of the Matamata agency; by 1913 the BNZ branch of Matamata was open three days a week, on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. In 1917, the BNZ officers from Morrinsville visited Matamata twice a week and used a wooden office building that was on the site of the present BNZ. In January 1919, preparation for additions and alterations were underway for the opening of a permanent and daily bank in Matamata. Such a facility was necessary, but had been held up by the bank’s war policy. Matamata was raised to the status of branch in May 1919 so work could begin upon construction.

The new brick and concrete BNZ premises were constructed in 1919 by the firm T J. Julian and Sons, to a cost of £11,011 1s 4d. The façade of the BNZ has a banded rusticated exterior with reduced ionic columns on the second storey. Corbel projections feature on the first floor pilasters and assorted friezes and swags decorate the first floor and parapet. Pediments decorate the ground floor windows and segmental pediments are the central feature on both stories. Dentil moulding adorns the first floor pediment and is on the ground floor pediment arch. The builders of the BNZ Matamata also constructed the Auckland Railway Station and earned a reputation for constructing architectural beauty.

Two-thirds of the ground floor was dedicated to the banking chambers, manager’s room, strong room, stationery area and public space. The remaining third was part of the residence, containing a dining room, kitchen area and porch. The floors of the building are polished kauri. Alterations and additions were completed in 1951, 1955, 1966 and 1976. The original central front entry has been modified to the front right side of the building.

In addition to providing banking services to the Matamata community, the BNZ chambers hosted national gatherings for the Matamata Women’s Institute. Since the departure of the BNZ from the building, a number of retail and hospitality businesses have occupied the premises.


Construction Professionalsopen/close

T J. Julian and Sons

No biography is currently available for this construction professional

Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Original Construction
1919 - 1920

1951 -
Internal alterations

1955 -
Staffroom and conveniences alteration/addition

1966 -
Extensive alterations and additions and exterior paving

1976 -
Staffroom addition

Completion Date

14th February 2014

Report Written By

Elise Caddigan

Information Sources

Stanley, 1985

Stanley, Joan, Matamata: Growth of a Town, Matamata, 1985

Other Information

A fully referenced upgrade report is available on request from the Lower Northern Area Office of the NZHPT.

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.