New Zealand Express Company Building

Engineering Work (eg road, bridge, sawmill, dam)


Note: this building is sometimes referred to as the New Zealand Mutual Funds Building or Consultancy House.

Built for the New Zealand Express Company Limited in Dunedin and opened in 1908, this is an early multi-storey building that incorporates precast concrete, and a reinforced concrete raft foundation and structural frame.

The Evening Star of 21 September 1908 said “this class of construction has so far not yet been generally adopted in the colonies” and “the full plans and specifications were submitted to two competent engineers for report as it is admitted the whole system is an engineering one.”

The building had many features which were very advanced for its time and predated by many years their general adoption elsewhere in New Zealand. These features include:
- the use of reinforced concrete for the structural frame
- precast concrete floor slabs
- proof testing of the design by loading full-sized models of parts of the structure to destruction
- a central heating system using hot water distribution and radiators from a single boiler.

The building also featured a reinforced concrete raft foundation, which was probably a first for New Zealand. This type of foundation was used because the ground had very recently been reclaimed from the harbour.

The many innovations in its design and construction undoubtedly are the reason for the building’s long life, as they gave considerable flexibility to the internal spaces which allowed the very diverse needs of the multitude of firms and companies who have occupied it over the last century.

Architect and engineer: A.E. Luttrell
Master builder and engineer: C. Fleming McDonald

Heritage Recognition
This place has been recognised by Heritage New Zealand as a Category 1 historic place (List no.374):
MFL Mutual Fund Building:
New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero information (

IPENZ “Engineering to 1990” project
This item of New Zealand’s engineering heritage was recognised as part of the IPENZ “Engineering to 1990” project which the Institution organised to help celebrate the country’s sesquicentenary in 1990. A plaque was unveiled to mark the significance of this building as part of the development of the nation.


No Attachments


7 Bond Street, Dunedin


Access Info
This is not a public building, but it can be viewed from the street.

Nature of Engineering
Building and Construction


ANZ Bank, cnr. Rattray & Bond Sts., Dunedin[?]. K E Niven and Co: Commercial negatives. Ref: 1/2-209803-F. Alexander Turnbull Library, Wellington, New Zealand. The New Zealand Express Company Building is next to the bank (right)

(Click image to enlarge )

IPENZ 1990 plaque, January 2014. Image courtesy of L. Smith.

(Click image to enlarge )

Lat: -45.878091 Long: 170.502634