Murchison earthquake, 1929

The Murchison earthquake damaged much of the upper South Island, sadly killing 17 people.

A report titled 'Earthquake Conditions, Westland' was written and addressed to the Board. It included notes on damage to bank sites at Greymouth, Hokitika, Reefton, Westport, Nelson and Murchison as well the impact on customers and experiences of staff;

Many of the Banks buildings were built in stone or concrete and they were badly damaged. Murchison premises were demolished in the quake and nearly £2000, approximately $200,000 today was spent to rebuild and strengthen the Nelson branch. Hokitika branch also had to be completely rebuilt, with the decision to build in wood.

The report described the Westport area as having "the appearance of having been shelled."  The bank premises here were noted as, "badly cracked" and the Managers quarter's as, "in a deplorable condition."

Despite the cost to rebuild damaged premises, BNZ donated £1000, equivalent of approximately $100,000 today, to the earthquake relief fund soon after the quake occurred.

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Hokitika built 1875 photo taken1903

Hokitika premises, built 1875 photo taken 1903

Hokitika premises built in wood 1931

BNZ Hokitika

Westport premises 1919

Westport - 1919