Purewa remembers Mina Tait Horton and part of the legacy she left: Auckland’s Holy Trinity Cathedral.
Mina was born to Alfred George Horton and Jessie Haliburton Chisholm in 1887. Alfred and Jessie had ten children of whom four died young. Mina was their eighth child. Mother Jessie died in 1879.
Mina wore a gold bangle on which was engraved the date March 9, 1905, the day on which she was to be married but sadly she was jilted at the altar.
Mina never married, but maintained an active life in the community. She was also close to her niece Audrey Chisholm Lawford, nee Horton. Audrey had a gold bangle matching Mina’s and these two bangles are now worn by a family member and greatly treasured for their provenance.
Mina’s father Alfred made his name as a founder of The New Zealand Herald and the New Zealand Sugar Company. He died in 1903, leaving his wealth business interests to his children, including Henry, who is also a Purewa Notable Person.
A Lasting Legacy
Mina died in 1935 leaving three quarters of the residue of her estate to the Anglican Church. The bequest was specifically for building a new cathedral, the design of which was to be completed within seven years of her death. If the construction was not commenced within ten years of her death the bequest would lapse. As it happened, the Second World War made this impossible. Eventually, her will was amended by an Act of Parliament to allow for an extension. The cathedral was finally built with the first stone laid in 1957 on land previously occupied by the Parnell Lawn Tennis Club.
Mina had beautiful antique furniture, which may have been wedding presents from her Father. Some of this furniture is still in the family, fully restored and lovingly cared for. The dining table chairs have hand embroidered seat covers, reupholstered using the original horse hair.
Source and editorial contributions by Helen Lawford from family memories, and An Auckland Network by Angela Caughey. Helen’s husband is Robert Elliott Lawford, son of Audrey Chisholm Lawford, nee Horton.