Arthur Edgar Gravenor Rhodes OBE

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Sir Arthur Edgar Gravenor Rhodes

Also Known As: "Dumpty"
Birthdate: (63)
Birthplace: Timaru, Canterbury, New Zealand
Death: December 26, 1922 (63)
Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand (fall)
Place of Burial: Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand
Immediate Family:

Son of George Rhodes, Sr. and Elizabeth Rhodes
Husband of Rosetta (Rose) Rhodes
Father of Tahu Rhodes and Maire Hutton
Brother of George William Wood Rhodes; Robert Heaton Rhodes; Ada Arrowenua Godby; George Hampton Rhodes and Ernest Timaru Rhodes

Occupation: Solicitor / Merchant Banker, Lawyer; Politician; House of Reps 1887; Mayor of Christchurch1901
Managed by: Private User
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About Arthur Edgar Gravenor Rhodes OBE

The Cyclopedia of New Zealand [Canterbury Provincial District]

Mr. Arthur Edgar Gravenor Rhodes is the third son of the late Mr. George Rhodes, of the Levels Estate, Timaru. He was born in 1859, and educated at Christ's College, Christchurch, and Jesus College, Cambridge, where he graduated B.A. and LL.B. in 1880.

He was called to the Bar at the Inner Temple in 1882, in which year he returned to NZ and commenced the practice of his profession in Christchurch in 1884. In 1887, he was elected to the House of Representatives for the Gladstone constituency, and three years later for the Geraldine seat. In the general elections of 1893 and 1806 he contested the Pareora seat unsuccessfully.

Mr. Rhodes was returned unopposed as Mayor of Christchurch in 1901, and he had the honour of receiving and welcoming to Christchurch their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York, now Prince and Princess of Wales. “Te Koraha,” his beautiful residence in Merivale, was placed at the disposal of their Royal Highnesses, and was occupied by them during their stay in Christchurch.

Mr. Rhodes has taken a lively interest in athletics, and has held a considerable number of positions in connection with various clubs. He is president of the Rugby Union and the Canterbury Rowing Association. Mr. Rhodes was married in 1892 to Miss Rose Moorhouse, daughter of the late Mr. J. W. Moorhouse, and had one son and one daughter.


Arthur Edgar Gravenor Rhodes OBE was a New Zealand Member of Parliament and Mayor of Christchurch.

Early life Rhodes was the son of George Rhodes. He was born on his father's station, The Levels, near Timaru. He received his education at Christ's College, Christchurch, where he captained the cricket and the football teams. He then attended Jesus College, Cambridge. He graduated with a BA and L.L.B. from the English college in 1880. He was called to the bar at the Inner Temple in 1882 and in the same year, he returned to New Zealand.

Professional career Rhodes founded his own legal firm in Christchurch in 1884. Later, Michael Godby and John Heaton Rhodes became partners and the firm was called 'Rhodes Ross'. Alan Fraser from Rangiora merged with the firm, from which 'Rhodes Godby and Fraser' resulted, later to be renamed 'Rhodes Fraser & Co'. Today, the firm trades as 'Rhodes & Co' in the Christchurch suburb of Addington.

Rhodes had a number of commercial interests. He was chairman of the New Zealand Shipping Company and chairman of The Press.

Te Koraha in 1901 After Rhodes returned from his tertiary education in England, he purchased 9 acres (3.6 ha) of land in Merivale, setting himself up for having a family and demonstrating his ambitions. He called the property Te Koraha, which is Māori for 'the wilderness'. Development started in 1884, when he had cottages removed and stables and a coach house built. Construction of the homestead, designed by Armson, Collins and Harman, started in 1886. It was enlarged in 1894 and became a centre of the social life of Christchurch.

Many important people stayed at Te Koraha, including Governors George Grey and Lord Islington. During his mayoralty, the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall and York were given use of Te Koraha while they stayed in Christchurch. Later in 1901, Robert Falcon Scott stayed there prior to leaving on the Discovery Expedition.

Upon Rhodes' death, the house passed on to his son Tahu, who sold it. It was leased by Rangi Ruru Girls' School, who used it as a boarding house until 2002, when it became their administration building. Extensively damaged in the February 2011 Christchurch earthquake, the building was restored and reopened in July 2012.

Political career Member of Parliament Parliament of New Zealand Years Term Electorate Party 1887–1890 10th Gladstone Independent 1890–1893 11th Geraldine Independent Rhodes represented the Gladstone (1887–1890) and Geraldine (1890–1893) electorates. He was defeated in the 1893 general election for the Pareora electorate that replaced Geraldine by Frederick Flatman. Rhodes contested the Geraldine electorate in the 1896 election, but was again beaten by Flatman. He contested the Avon electorate in 1899 and was beaten by the incumbent, William Tanner.

Local body politics Christchurch mayoral elections had so far been held in the second half of December, but in 1900, that would have clashed with the Canterbury Jubilee celebrations (the First Four Ships first arrived in December 1850). Mayoral elections were postponed until April 1901. The incumbent, William Reece, declared in December 1900 that he could not serve another term due to other commitments, and shortly afterwards Rhodes received a requisition asking him to be nominated as mayoral candidate. At the nomination meeting on 16 April 1901, Rhodes was the only candidate and was thus declared elected unopposed. He was Mayor for one year and was succeeded by Henry Wigram, who was elected unopposed in 1902.

Rose Rhodes was President of Victoria League Canterbury between 1910 and 1917. The inaugural meeting of the Canterbury branch was held at Te Koraha.[19]

Family and death

Rose Rhodes On 10 February 1892, he married Rose Moorhouse. She was the youngest daughter of James William Moorhouse, who in turn was brother of William Sefton Moorhouse, the second Superintendent of Canterbury Province. The Rhodes had two children.

Their son, Arthur Tahu Gravenor (Tahu) Rhodes, was born on 2 August 1893. He served in World War I in Gallipoli and Egypt, before he was released due to ill health. On 24 January 1916, he married Helen Cecil Olive Plunket, the daughter of The Lord Plunket, who had been Governor of New Zealand in 1904–1910. Tahu Rhodes died on 11 March 1947.

Their daughter, Rose Mairehau (Maire) Rhodes, was born on 23 July 1894 at Te Koraha. She married George Frederick Hutton at Christ Church, Down Street, Piccadilly. Maire Rhodes died in 1991. The Christchurch suburb of Mairehau is named after her; her father had land holdings in the area.

Rhodes died on 26 December 1922. He was buried the following day at Bromley Cemetery. Rose Rhodes died ten years later by falling 60 feet (18 m) from the window of her son's flat in Chelsea, London.

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Arthur Edgar Gravenor Rhodes OBE's Timeline

1859
March 20, 1859
Timaru, Canterbury, New Zealand
1893
August 2, 1893
Age 34
Christchurch, New Zealand
1894
July 23, 1894
Age 35
Te Koraha, New Zealand
1922
December 26, 1922
Age 63
Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand
????
Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand