Benjamin Gittos, 1808 - 1884, was one of Auckland's earliest settlers. The Gittos family arrived in Auckland in 1840 and made camp near the waterfront where the corner of Queen and Shortland Streets is now, before moving to farm near Hokianga.
In 1845 the European settlers at Hokianga fled to Auckland following the outbreak of war with Hone Heke. Two years later Gittos started a leather business in the city, sited in Wyndham Street, expanding to run a tannery at Avondale, on the Wahu river in 1863. At this tannery he initiated the techniques for tanning with the bark of native trees such as the tanekaha and the towhai. He issued penny tokens in 1864, advertising his trade and location as, 'B. GITTOS LEATHER MERCHANT IMPORTER OF BOOTS & SHOES &c. &c.' and 'WHOLESALE & RETAIL LEATHER & GRINDERY STORES WYNDHAM STREET AUCKLAND N.Z., 1864'.
Gittos' son William was an important Methodist missionary in northern New Zealand who learnt Maori language and acted as an interpreter and negotiator between Maori and Pakeha (Europeans) in land and other deals.
Robinson, H.A. (1974). 'Auckland Tradesmen's Tokens', The New Zealand Numismatic Journal, May, pp.139-140.