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Petone's First 100 Years (1940)

50

First Bank in New Zealand.

Somewhere in Petone is located the site of the first bank to be established in New Zealand—the Union Bank of Australia. Just where that site is will probably never be known, the only clue is contained in a paragraph in a copy of the New Zealand Gazette, published in May, 1840 (probably May 2nd), which reads: "The Rev. J. Macfarlane of the Kirk of Scotland will perform" Divine Service at half-past ten o'clock, and the Rev. J. G. Butler "at twelve o'clock, every Sunday, at the Council House, in front "of the Bank."
E. J. Wakefield tells us that the Council House was half-a-mile from Pito-one, i.e., the pa.
The date when the bank opened is fixed by an advertisement in the New Zealand Gazette, establishing the fact that business was commenced on Tuesday, 24th March, 1840. A typical letter in the New Zealand Gazette> reads, "The Bank has arrived and will" relieve us from the inconvenience of barter trade."
In regard to the location, half-a-mile along the beach would give the end of Nelson Street, but it is more than likely that the bank was situated nearer Victoria Street. Elsewhere, reasons are given for believing that Clyde Terrace was somewhere in this locality. We do know that the Rev. J. Macfarlane lived in Clyde Terrace, and that a letter states that "the houses there are "the best in the colony."
On the arrival of the Glenbervie, by which the "bank" arrived, Captain Mein Smith was living in "a large tent," so that the building of his house must have been after the bank was established.

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