Henry Dent Gardiner was the son of an Innkeeper. Born in Essex in England, he arrived in Australia in 1850 chasing gold.He stepped off a ship at Lyttelton in 1855, purchasing a block of land at Harewood where he farmed. Gardiners Road in Harewood is named after him.
He also farmed in Irwell and Leeston. In 1874, he brought Purau off Robert Heaton Rhodes for 20, 000 pounds. His descendants still live there today.
Leaving all his farms in the hands of his sons, Henry retired to Christchurch in 1890. He died in 1909.
Henry and his wife Mary Ann are buried at Linwood Cemetery, Christchurch.