Bendix Hallenstein

Bendix Hallenstein (c. 24 January 1835 – 6 January 1905) was a German-born Jewish merchant, statesman, and manufacturer from Dunedin, New Zealand. He is best known for founding the retail clothing store Hallensteins, which still bears his name. He also founded the D.I.C. (department store) in Dunedin in 1884.

Bendix Hallenstein
Bornc. 24 January 1835
Bisperode, Duchy of Brunswick, Germany
Died6 January 1905(1905-01-06) (aged 69–70)
Dunedin, New Zealand
Known forFounding Hallenstein Brothers
Founding D.I.C.
Mary Mountain
(m. 1861)
RelativesWilli Fels (nephew and son-in-law)
Charles Brasch (great-grandson)


New Zealand Parliament
Years Term Electorate Party
18721873 5th Wakatipu Independent

Hallenstein was born in Bisperode, Duchy of Brunswick, Germany, on about 24 January 1835 to Reuben Hallenstein and Helena Michaelis; he was their third and youngest son. His parents owned a wool mill in Lügde. In 1852, at the age of 17, he moved to Manchester, England, where his maternal uncle operated a shipping office.

In 1857 he followed his brothers, Isaac and Michaelis, to Daylesford in the Victorian goldfields, Australia. Each of the three brothers wished to marry their housekeeper, Mary Mountain (1826-1907), but it was ultimately Bendix she chose to marry. They were wed in the Anglican parish church in Alford, Lincolnshire, on 14 February 1861.[1] They had four daughters; Sara (married Willi Fels), Emily (married Isidore de Beer), Henrietta (married James Francis (Frank) Hyams; died 1895 soon after childbirth), and Agnes (married Siegfried Barden).

In 1873 he founded the New Zealand Clothing Factory in Dunedin to provide men's clothing for his stores. He opened a store in the Octagon, selling clothing at wholesale price; the retail clothing chain Hallensteins still bears his name. He also founded the Drapery and General Importing Company of New Zealand Ltd, later known as the D.I.C., in 1884.[1]

Hallenstein was the mayor of Queenstown Borough from 1869 to 1872.[2] He represented the electorate of Wakatipu in Parliament from 1872 to 1873, when he resigned.[3] He was appointed German consul for Dunedin in 1892.[4]

Hallenstein's son-in-law (and nephew) Willi Fels was a prominent philanthropist and arts collector in early Dunedin. Hallenstein's great-grandson Charles Brasch was a noted poet, literary editor and arts patron.


  1. Parry, Gordon. "Hallenstein, Bendix". Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Ministry for Culture and Heritage. Retrieved 16 March 2012.
  2. "Past Mayors of the QLDC". Queenstown Lakes District Council. Archived from the original on 2 November 2012. Retrieved 22 October 2012.
  3. Scholefield, Guy (1950) [First ed. published 1913]. New Zealand Parliamentary Record, 1840–1949 (3rd ed.). Wellington: Govt. Printer. p. 111.
  4. "German Consul" (7409). Star. 2 November 1892. Retrieved 17 June 2020.