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The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Wellington Provincial District]

Mr. James Hugh Buchanan Coates

Mr. James Hugh Buchanan Coates, General Manager of the National Bank of New Zealand, Limited, was born at Auckland in 1851. His father, an English barrister by profession, arrived there in 1842 with the first Governor of New Zealand, Captain Hobson, R.N., as his private secretary. He was afterwards appointed the first clerk of the Executive Council of New Zealand, and subsequently became sheriff of Auckland, which position he held up to the time of his death in 1853. Mr. Coates was educated at the Church of England Grammar School, and at St. John's College, Auckland, under the Rev. Dr. Kinder M.A. In 1869 he commenced his career as a banker in the Bank of New South Wales, and after serving four years with that institution at Auckland and on the Thames goldfield, Mr. Coates was offered an appointment on the staff of the National Bank of New Zealand, Limited, by Mr. W. S. Grahame, the first director who visited the Colony to establish the Bank's business, and accepted the position of teller in its Auckland office. He was subsequently promoted, becoming accountant in 1876, and manager eight years later. For many years he successfully filled that important and responsible office, and on the retirement of Mr. W. Dymock as general manager of the Bank, Mr. Coates was elected by the Board of Directors to succeed Mr. James Hugh Buchanan Coates page 516 him. At the request of the directors, Mr. Coates paid a visit to London to consult with them as to the policy and conduct of the business of the Bank in the Colony, and on his return in 1893, entered on the duties of his present position as general manager of the Bank. Mr. Coates is intimately acquainted with New Zealand and its history, and is as well known throughout the Colony for his accessibility and courtesy, as for his shrewdness and common sense as a banker. He has always taken a leading interest in all athletic sports, and was one of the founders of the very successful Auckland Amateur Athletic Association, of which he was for several years president, up to the time of his taking up his residence in Wellington. The high office of president of the Bank of New Zealand was offered to Mr. Coates in 1894, but he had to decline the position, being under a five years engagement with the directors of the National Bank of New Zealand, who were unwilling to release him, though appealed to by the Government through the Agent-General, Sir Westby Percival, K.C.M.G. Mr. Coates was elected a Fellow of the Bankers' Institute of London in 1889.