Akaroa Township is 84 km south-east of Christchurch and about 25 km east of Little River. The resident population is slowly declining and more than 60% of the dwellings are holiday homes. The town sits on the eastern side of the splendid harbour from which it takes its name. Canterbury’s oldest town, Akaroa was founded in August 1840 by French settlers. It has been suggested that French interest in New Zealand speeded up Britain’s decision to annex New Zealand. By the time French settlers arrived, the Treaty of Waitangi between the British Crown and Māori chiefs had been signed. Akaroa has a fine collection of 19th-century cottages and houses. Once a fishing and farm service town, it now serves mainly holidaymakers and tourists. The French associations are evident in street names. About 5 km south is a small Māori settlement, Ōnuku, with a historic church and modern meeting house.
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