The view of Waitaha (Canterbury Plains) from the top of the Te Poho o Tamatea (Port Hills) in 1836 wouldn’t be hard to imagine – swamp, cabbage trees, flax and Toi Toi.
Was it a place where a future could begin for someone not afraid of hard work? William Barnard Rhodes (pictured with his wife Sarah King and daughter Mary Ann) thought so as he stared not only over the Plains but also over the Peninsula where he stood.
William sailed out of Whangaraupo (Lyttelton Harbour) on his whaling ship ‘Harriet’ – soon to be renamed Port Cooper at Rhodes request – a few days later with Banks Peninsula never far from his thoughts.
He was back less than 2 years later, sailing into Akaroa Harbour with a ship full of sheep that were forced overboard so they would swim ashore. This was the humble beginnings of the Rhodes family in Canterbury.
Much encouraged by their elder brother William, George (1817 – 1864) arrived in Port Cooper in December 1843 and Robert (1815 – 1884) arrived 1849. The two of them were sheep dipping on their property of Purau when the ‘Charlotte Jane’ and the ‘Randolph’ sailed past the entrance of Purau on the historic day of the 16th December 1850. The arrival of the settlers made the Rhodes business boom as meat, vegetables and milk were in very high demand!!!
The Rhodes continued to be an influential family as Christchurch developed. Politicians, businessmen, landowners (over 800 sections ranging from ¼ acres to 75,000 acres) the Rhodes stand out amongst our other PreAdamites. The suburbs of Scarborough, Mairehau and Elmwood are also linked to this history.
For a more in depth look at the Rhodes Brothers, please checks out the following link: http://www.peelingbackhistory.co.nz/the-rhodes-brothers/