On 1st April 1943, Mt Pleasant joined the Greater Christchurch and came under the care of the C.C.C.
Tauhinu Korokio was the site of an Ngati Mamoe Pa. It was a superior location due to its 360 degree views, its ample wood supply and many water springs. The name came from two native shrubs that grew on what we now call Mt Pleasant.
When the Ngai Tahu battled and won over the Nagti Mamoe, they planted the hillside below the Pa in Korau or Poheta (Turnips) which were dried and stored underground. The land of Mt Pleasant was once sacred land as sacred objects were kept there and Makutu (black magic) was practiced. To the Ngai Tahu of today, Mt Pleasant is still Tapu.
Major Alfred Hornbrook served both in the English Army and Royal Marines before arriving in New Zealand aboard the ‘Oriental’ – one of Wellington’s First Four Ships in 1840. There is little clue as to what brought Alfred down to Canterbury in 1849. He soon became a business partner of George Rhodes of Purau and took over the ownership of the Mt Pleasant Station. In 1871, the Major was forced to declare bankruptcy. Mt Pleasant Station was sold to Richard May Morten, the man believed to be behind the naming of today’s suburb of Hillmorten.
Richard May Morten was born in Buckinghamshire, England in 1823. Taking work in ship trading, he found himself in Victoria, Australia in 1859. The following year, he moved on to Lyttelton.
He settled in Rakaia before making major purchases of land. He brought 6000 acres at Mt Pleasant and 4000 acres at Tai Tapu, to name the two largest. He also purchased the south west corner of Cathedral Square where eventually the Morten’s Building (pictured here on the far right) was erected with the stone coming from Richard’s own quarry at Ruapaki. This was Cathedral Square’s first stone building.
*Image courtesy of the Canterbury Public Library – http://christchurchcitylibraries.com/ – File Reference CCL Photo CD 5, IMG0079