NAMED AFTER ONE OF NEW ZEALAND’S EARLIEST AND MOST PROMINENT MERCHANT FAMILIES, THE NATHAN BUILDING IS TODAY HOME TO A LUXURIOUS EVENT SPACE FOR PRIVATE HIRE.
This building was built in 1903 for Arthur Hyam Nathan, nephew of English merchant trader David Nathan. David was a leading business figure of the time and founder of iconic New Zealand retail company L. D. Nathan & Co.
Both Arthur and his brother Louis worked in their uncle’s business for many years. In 1880, after falling out with his uncle, Arthur started up on his own as A. H. Nathan & Co. His new wholesale merchant and importing company sold groceries, clothing, guns, wine and spirits and musical instruments and also traded kauri gum.
In 1903 he commissioned this building from architect A. P. Wilson, designer of the Northern Steamship Building. Originally named the Launceston Building after Arthur’s birthplace, the building is distinctive for its decorative use of multi-coloured bricks and plaster.
Continuing retail tradition
Arthur Nathan became widely involved in the Auckland’s commercial and community development, holding a number of influential positions including Chairman of the Auckland Harbour Board, President of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce and a director of the Northern Steamship Company.
A. H. Nathan & Co. enjoyed considerable success as a retailer and continued to operate out of the Nathan Building for 67 years. Following the company’s departure in 1970, the building was inhabited by many different businesses and organisations, including an Italian restaurant on the ground floor.
Today the building has been cleaned out and the ground floor is being used on an interim basis as a venue for hire, The Nathan Club. It will be fully renovated as part of the Britomart redevelopment programme.
IN THIS BUILDING
The Nathan Club and The Australis Room
Find The Nathan Building
40-42 Customs Street East