Rush to Hokitika

On 20th December 1864 the first steamer, ‘The Nelson’, carrying passengers to enter the river port, arrived safely over the bar and disembarked its passengers on the Southern shore.

They were rowed over to the Northern shore and landed where the town of Hokitika now stands. There was a rush for town allotments, and among the applicants was a representative of BNZ. The gold-rush had set in.

The Bank obtained temporary quarters in the meantime, and in February 1865 it opened its office. T W Rees from the goldfields of Central Otago was the officer in charge.

The following year the Bank erected premises on the corner of Revell and Camp Streets. They were much admired. The local paper recorded “Although there may be others which contain a greater amount of space, there is not one so imposing in appearance or occupying so eligible a site. The strong-room, well worthy of its name, is built of solid brick and work and guarded by double doors of massive iron”.  

Unfortunately this show place with elaborate interior decorations was destroyed by fire in 1873. New premises were erected in 1875. The present structure dates from 1931.

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Hokitika premises built in 1866 resized

Hokitika premises - c1866

Hokitika built 1875 photo taken1903 resize

Hokitika built 1875 - 1903