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;
"Our Westport Manager had a worse experience than most. His wife was pinned by the moving furniture and was then thrown down the hall stunned. His eldest girl getting out of school was between two girls, one of whom was struck down and had both legs broken, while the other suffered concussion through the falling brick; she was fortunate to escape, but the shock has left her quite a nervous wreck for the time being."
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.
Despite the cost to rebuild damaged premises, BNZ donated £1000, equivalent of approximately $90,000 today, to the earthquake relief fund soon after the quake occurred.Visit this story on the timeline