Tower Corporation Building, 50–64 Customhouse Quay (1930)

The Government Life Insurance Department building in 1954.
The Government Life Insurance Department building in 1954

Tower Corporation began as the Government Life Insurance Department in 1869. It was formed to provide New Zealanders with a broader choice in life assurance. It grew quickly, with a state guarantee being a major attraction. The Department built its first purpose-built offices on this site in 1893.

After the 1931 Napier earthquake the building was thought unsafe and it was pulled down.

The present building was designed by Government Architect, John Mair, and completed in 1936. Government Life became a corporation in 1983, and in 1989 it became Tower Corporation. It later severed all connections with the Government and became a mutual life company owned by its policy holders.

Image reference: Alexander Turnbull Library 37239 1/2