On 20th March 1917, St Martins joined the Greater Christchurch and came under the care of the C.C.C.
Henry Phillips (pictured) was known to be a man of great capital amongst the other passengers of the ‘Sir George Seymour’ – the third of our first four ships. He certainly proved them right with the amount of land he purchased once he landed in Canterbury.
The first 100 acres Phillips brought from the Canterbury Association was nothing more than a great swamp – now known as the suburb of Phillipstown. He also purchased land in Heathcote, Riccarton, Papanui and two town sections in Cathedral Square that became the locations of the now condemned/demolished BNZ bank and the Warners Hotel. All these were soon sold on.
Phillips kept a 140 hectare section for himself and his family. He named his farm St Martins. He wasn’t overly fond of hoof stock farming, instead pouring his heart and soul into the soil, owning a very fine orchard and is believed to have also been the man who brought the Rhododendron to Canterbury.
In 1863, he began to subdivide his farm, selling the sections of land titled as the ‘Village of St Martins’. The name first appears officially in 1878, a year after Henry’s death.
Regarded as a residential area today, St Martins early life was made up from farms and gardens, a strong community area of Cantabs living off the land.
For a more in depth look at Henry Phillips, please check out the attached link: http://www.peelingbackhistory.co.nz/