Our history

2011 was a milestone year for Westpac, marking 150 years of continuous and loyal banking services to New Zealand communities.


One month after the bank agreed to take over the Oriental Bank's New Zealand business in April 1861, gold was discovered in Otago and our bankers were soon riding on horses and sleeping in tents to service the gold fields. By the end of the year, the Bank of New South Wales (BNSW) had opened seven branches in New Zealand.


Modern technology came to the BNSW with the arrival of the telephone.

The first typewriter was purchased and caused a small controversy.


The Commercial Bank of Australia (CBA) opened 19 branches throughout New Zealand.

1915 war time staff

World War I took the lives of 31 BNSW staff during active service.

The first female employees for the BNSW were hired due to the war.

Adding machines were introduced – so valuable, they were kept in the strongroom.

Branches destroyed and staff injured in the devastating Hawke’s Bay earthquake.

1931 Hawke's Bay earthquake

Another World War – 29 BNSW staff were killed. More women were employed by the bank and stayed on after the war.

The first bank uniforms were supplied to female staff at the CBA‘s Christchurch branch in 1942. By the 1950s uniforms became the norm for women, but they had to change out of them to leave the branch – even for lunch.

Burrough’s ledger machines widely used by most branches.

CBA was the first bank to advertise that it would lend money to women with our “Yes we do lend money to Women” campaign.

The bank screened its first TV commercial and firearms were withdrawn from the banks.
No longer a need for the basement gun range at 79 Queen Street where staff were trained.

BankCard, the first credit card, was introduced by ANZ, BNSW and Commercial Bank of New Zealand.

The CBA launched the rescue helicopter sponsorship that became the Westpac Rescue Helicopter.

The BNSW joined forces with the CBA and changed its name to Westpac.
Automatic teller machines (ATMs) were introduced as basic cash card machines.

The union urged equal pay and changes to promotional procedures in banks that discriminated against women. Westpac responded positively – equal pay was introduced and in 1985 the bank received a bouquet and a “rating of excellent” from the union for its affirmative action programme for women.

Westpac became a larger and stronger bank, with over 1.3 million customers, when it merged with Trust Bank.

The new millennium

First bank to offer Green Home Loans to help New Zealanders afford environmentally responsible products.

Westpac celebrated 150 years of successful banking in New Zealand with over 1.2 million customers and over 200 branches nationwide. 

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of WW1, Westpac salutes its fallen soldiers 100 years on here.

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