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Ohinemuri Regional History Journal 9, May 1968

BANK OF NEW ZEALAND - PAEROA

By LEILA THORP

This Bank first opened in 1880 in an exceedingly small two-roomed office. Then a year later, in 1881, on the corner of Normanby and Victoria Streets, a tall two-storied building was erected comprising the Manager's residence on the first floor and the banking chambers on the ground floor, while at the back there was an assay room with the necessary equipment for the valuation work so important in mining days. The gold was mostly from rich Karangahake Ore. (By the turn of the century all assaying was taken over by the National Bank in the building now occupied by Nagel's Creations, and with a specially qualified staff).

The new B.N.Z. building was regarded as a great advancement for Paeroa, adding to its impressive approach from either Waihi or Te Aroha. The first Manager was Mr. G. A. Burgess with staff of teller, ledgerkeeper and two juniors. Then Mr. C. Rhodes took charge in 1886 followed in 1900 by Mr. Burgess who was re-appointed to the managership. Subsequent Managers during the next forty years were Messrs. Corkill, Wilson, Webster, Steedman, Samuel and Rowan. During the latter's term of office major changes took place.

Originally Wharf Street was regarded as the hub of Paeroa, and strangely enough much of the main business of the town once more gravitated to that vicinity, especially after the new Post Office was built in its present central position in 1926. During the 2nd World War the B.N.Z. acquired the site of the large two story wooden building which was once the premises of Mr. Henry Moore, Tobacconist and Hairdresser. The present Bank, at that time one of the most up-to-date in New Zealand, was built in 1940 on the corner of Wharf Street, being thus adjacent to the Post Office and two other Banks in Paeroa Square, so pleasing to the public. Since then the managers have been: Messrs. Westlake, Frank, Raine, Rodda and now Mr. Alexander is in charge. Not only has this branch of the B.N.Z. aided the financial progress of Paeroa, but the members of its staff throughout the years have played a prominent port in, the civic, social and sporting life of the town.

The vacated B.N.Z. was taken over by the Ministry of Works and used as a hostel and Offices for Waacs [Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (in 1914-18 war)] then Labour Dept., Rehab. and Maori Affairs. It was burned down on 20-9-52. Later "Paeroa Motors" acquired the site and built their modern Show Room and Service Station.