In 2010 Otahuna Lodge at Tai Tapu, near Christchurch, provided luxury accommodation for paying guests. When built in 1895 it was the 40-room home of Robert Heaton Rhodes. Heaton Rhodes, the son of a wealthy landowner, was educated at Oxford University, and then returned to Christchurch as a lawyer. He served as an officer in the South African War, was elected to Parliament in 1899 and became postmaster general and minister of health in 1912, and minister of defence in 1920. He later became a member of the Legislative Council. He was knighted in 1920.
At Otahuna, Heaton Rhodes was regarded as a model farmer of the property's 5,000 acres of land and created a remarkable garden complete with an artificial lake. Otahuna became a popular venue for garden parties and polo matches for Canterbury's social elite. A local benefactor and supporter of numerous charities, Sir Heaton Rhodes was a fine example of the aristocratic gentry class that emerged among the pastoral elite of Canterbury in the second half of the 19th century.
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Photograph by Stephen Goodenough
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