Skip to main content
Browse the 1966 Encyclopaedia of New Zealand
Graphic: An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand 1966.


This information was published in 1966 in An Encyclopaedia of New Zealand, edited by A. H. McLintock. It has not been corrected and will not be updated.

Up-to-date information can be found elsewhere in Te Ara.




The Post Office Savings Bank was set up in 1867 to give small investors a ready means of saving. It has grown quickly from an initial 2,156 accounts with £71,000 credit to 159,331 accounts of £4 million in 1906 to 2·5 million accounts of over £421 million in 1964. The money on credit is used for Government capital loans. In both wars the savings bank took a leading part in promoting national war savings.

There have been many developments with regard to ordinary savings accounts. The School Savings Bank scheme (1934) now includes 2,280 schools (nearly 90 per cent) and holds credits of about £1 million. Thrift club accounts (1949) allow firms to make group deposits for their employees' accounts – now accepted as a useful staff amenity. Home lay-by accounts (1957) allow young people to save towards buying their own houses. Investment accounts (1957) carry a higher interest for large amounts. There are now more than 17,800 of these accounts with an average credit of £1,514; and total credits have grown from £2 million by 1958 to £33 million in 1964. (Average amounts in other accounts in 1964 were: ordinary, £178; thrift, 63, and home lay-by, £364.)

The Post Office Savings Bank was the first to give non-profit organisations interest-bearing cheque accounts. Within limits money may be withdrawn on demand from any Post Office Savings Bank.

The Post Office, with its many branches, is well placed to do much work for other State Departments. One of its largest agencies is the registration of motor vehicles. Each year about 1,000,000 vehicles are relicensed; there are more than 300,000 changes of ownership; and there is a turnover of more than £8 million in fees, taxes, insurance premiums, and refunded duty on motor spirits. Most of its 40 agency services deal mainly with cash transactions. In 1964 its receipts and payments for other Departments totalled £170 million.

by Claude John Enright, formerly Principal Public Relations Officer, New Zealand Post Office.

Vehicles Registered
1930 199,409 1960 843,025
1940 315,520 1963 1,001,654
1950 411,632 1964 1,068,682
  • For further information see Post Office publications
  • rates and charges guides, annual reports, statistical tables, etc.;also A History of the New Zealand Post Office, Robinson, H. (1964).