"This YWCA here is the 2nd largest in the world for business etc. so at least we can have something pretty big in little New Zealand. Hilda."
Thanks to Sandra Coney's 1986 book, Every Girl: A social history of women and the YWCA in Auckland (p. 93) I now know that this image came from 1918, the year the building was completed, and was the first photograph of the building.
The YWCA held a "Ten Day Building Campaign" in 1913, one which raised £15,046 according to the NZ Herald on 16 February 1915. 1915 was when Myers Park was opened, and when the YWCA was offered property at 385 Queen Street, backing onto the new park, for their hostel. The property was purchased for £4,500 and W H Gummer of Hoggard, Prouse and Gummer was commissioned to prepare a design for the new building. The foundation stone was laid in 1917, and the red brick building, one that expressed "dignity, and restraint without weakness, and a certain homeliness of character," apparently according to the architect, was opened 31 October 1918.
Mrs Geddes heartily thanked all those present, and all who had contributed to the building fund, for their interest and support. The association, she said, was very proud of its new home, and without doubt it would greatly further the success of the work that was to be undertaken during the coming years. "Some people have said that the building is far too extravagant," said Mrs. Geddes, "but we must have a bright, attractive place, or else the girls will not come to us, for we have to compete with so many outside attractions."
... Miss Griffin said the new building would be a centre which would radiate influences throughout the entire community. It was large, but contained not one inch of superfluous space. In entering their new home they were entering into the heritage of the faith and work of early members of the association, to whom the speaker paid a tribute of gratitude and appreciation.
NZ Herald 1 November 1918
22 January 1928. James D Richardson photo, ref 4-1916, Sir George Grey Special Collections, Auckland Library.
There are beautiful images of the interior of the building in Coney's book. I do recommend that the interested reader hunt down a copy.
With changing times in the 1970s, the YWCA moved away from the business of providing hostels, especially considering the fact that bits of the old building "kept falling off into Myers Park", according to Coney. The 1918 building was sold in 1977, became a hotel, and was finally demolished in 1985.