The Christchurch Tramway Board, the Christchurch Drainage Board, Waimairi County Council and the Lyttelton Harbour Board I’m sure kept Wilfred John Walter very, very busy! He did find the time and seized the opportunity to name the area that would be known as the suburb of Mairehau.
He named the area after Mrs. Rose Mairehau Hutton (nee Rhodes) whose family had been great property owners in Canterbury and also the North Island. Rose was born to Arthur Gravenor Rhodes and Rosetta Moorhouse (pictured here in 1902) – who also had a great history of her own; Her uncle, William Sefton Moorhouse had served Canterbury as Superintendent – twice.
Known to family and friends as Mairehau, her father Arthur Gravenor Rhodes was the son of George Rhodes who owned a 75,000 acre sheep station named ‘The Levels” – now known as the township of Timaru. George and his two brothers – William and Robert – would eventually own over 800 sections.
When George died in 1864, the family paid for the spire of the Christchurch Cathedral in his memory – including 8 of the 10 Cathedral bells. There was no arguing that Mairehau’s parents had quite a history, dating back even further than the arrival of the first four ships in 1850.
Arthur married Rosetta Moorhouse in 1892. He had already built a fine home on his 9 acres of Merivale property. He had always dreamt of marrying and having children one day. Naming his home ‘Te Koraha’, (meaning ‘the wilderness’) he was all set. So Mairehau and her brother Tahu grew up with the finest things. In 1901, they became the children of the Mayor of Christchurch.
When Arthur died in 1922, the house was passed down to Tahu who immediately sold it. Rosetta moved to England where she died 10 years later.
Mairehau married Major George Hutton and had a family of her own. ‘Te Koraha’ is now a part of Rangi Ruru Girls High School. An amazing house that was expanded in 1894, 1902, 1905 and 1913, it is something to behold!!!
In a wonderful continuation of their story, the family weren’t done with adding to their amazing history. One of their daughters, Elizabeth, married Austen Deans – one of the many grandsons of John & Jane Deans of Riccarton. Austen would go to become a famous Canterbury artist (just died in 2011 at the age of 95) and have 7 sons of his own. One of his granddaughters is Julia Deans, who was the lead singer of the New Zealand music band ‘Fur Patrol’.
Current Homebush owner, Jim Deans is also tied up with this story. His mother was a Hutton. So how did the Deans end up marrying twice into the Huttons? They were neighbours, the Huttons lived at Bangor Farm – just down the road from Homebush.
This means that Jim is related not only to the Rhodes family but also the Moorhouses…what an amazing history!!!
Mairehau is buried with her husband and her father Arthur at Bromley Cemetery, Christchurch.
*image courtesy of the http://christchurchcitylibraries.com/*
* photo of Mairehau’s grave taken by Annette Bulovic*