BNZ has confirmed it will not return to its Wellington head office, which was significantly damaged in the Kaikoura earthquake.

Staff have been unable to work in the building on Harbour Quays since November 2016.

BNZ director Richard Griffiths said safety was paramount.

"We have worked closely with CentrePort to understand the remediation process. We now know that it will take considerable time to reinstate the building, and as such we are exiting our lease on the building," he said.

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CentrePort property general manager Nick Wareham said the decision was sad.

"We thank BNZ for its patience these past 16 months and acknowledge the impact the earthquake-damaged building has had on BNZ's people and business."