Akaroa Waterfront Historic Area

French Bay And Red House Bay, Akaroa

  • Akaroa Waterfront Historic Area.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: R O'Brien. Date: 24/12/2010.
  • Akaroa Waterfront Historic Area.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: R O'Brien. Date: 24/12/2010.
  • Akaroa Waterfront Historic Area.
    Copyright: Heritage New Zealand. Taken By: R O'Brien. Date: 24/12/2010.

List Entry Information

List Entry Status Listed List Entry Type Historic Area Public Access Private/No Public Access
List Number 7330 Date Entered 6th September 1996

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Extent of List Entry

The area comprises the foreshore of French Bay (from Rue Brittain) inclusive of Red House Bay, Akaroa. The area encompasses the road reserve which runs around the foreshore, including the area 300m out from the high tide mark. Where the road reserve no longer follows the coast the area continues at an equivalent width of the road reserve or for those properties in private ownership 300m out to sea from the legal boundaries.

City/District Council

Christchurch City

Region

Canterbury Region

Summaryopen/close

This historic area was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Recommendation for Registration report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

GENERAL DESCRIPTION:

The foreshore at Akaroa has a long history of human activity. French Bay was known as Paka Ariki. Maori had long ago established a settlement at Takapuneke (Red House Bay) and had been supplying European traders from the I820s. In November 1830 Te Maiharanui, Takapuneke's leading chief, aroused Te Rauparaha's enmity and became the object of an assault when a Ngati Toa war party chartered the brig Elizabeth and massacred 100 and 200 people in a surprise attack.

French Bay is the site of the French landing in Akaroa on 19 August 1840. This was the beginning of the only settlement in New Zealand by the French.

Prior to the arrival of the settlers, the main European activity in the South Island was that of the whalers. Whaling from Banks Peninsula dates back to 1835, but port records show the use of Akaroa Harbour as a base for whalers reached its peak in 1842-44, when an average of 25 ships were stationed there at anyone time. After 1844 it became unprofitable to fish New Zealand waters, although shore-based whaling continued from some bays until 1863.

The French arrived in New Zealand in 1840 believing that Captain L'Anglois, the master of the French whaler, had purchased 30,000 acres of land in Akaroa from the local Maoris in 1838. In fact the claim had never been completed and was invalid.

The French ships called first at the Bay of Islands, the main British settlement in New Zealand, and there discovered that Britain had not only declared sovereignty over the North Island but had also claimed the South Island and Stewart Island as well. Negotiations with the British resulted in the French continuing on to Akaroa, only to find that the HMS Britomart had already arrived in French Bay on 10 August, five days ahead of the French naval corvette, the 'Aube'.

On 11 August the Captain of the Britomart, Captain Stanley, went ashore and hoisted the British flag at Green's Point, thereby confirming British sovereignty of the land. On 19 August 1840 the 57 French colonists from the 'Comte de Paris' were landed on the foreshore of Paka Ariki Bay (now French Bay). They were placed in tents, made from sail cloths of the 'Comte de Paris' and the 'Aube', erected along the foreshore the previous day. This was the first settlement by the French of the present town of Akaroa. The settlers entered into an agreement with the New Zealand government which allowed them rights to settle despite English sovereignty of the land.

People have lived by the Akaroa waterfront since the 1840s starting with Captain William Barnard Rhodes who landed 40 cattle at Red House Bay in 1839 establishing the first cattle station in the South Island. Akaroa's isolation, relative lack of flat hinterland and low population density have saved the waterfront from large scale development. No large reclamations and wharves have changed the shoreline as they did in other major South Island port centres. The relationship between Akaroa's shoreline and its anchorages have remained relatively undisturbed by development.

Assessment criteriaopen/close

Historical Significance or Value

This historic area was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Recommendation for Registration report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Historical:

Akaroa is an important pre-colonial/early colonial contact place and its foreshore has a long history of human activity. Maori had long ago established a settlement at Takapuneke (Red House Bay) and had been supplying European traders from the 1820s. A Ngati Toa war party under Te Rauparaha's lead attacked the settlement in November 1830, massacring between 100 and 200 people. The bays were later the

focus of attention as European colonisation got under way. People have lived near the Akaroa waterfront since the 1840s.

The Akaroa Waterfront including French Bay and Red House Bay is an important pre-colonial and early colonial contact place, and is particularly noted for its connection with Te Rauparaha's massacre of the Ngati Tahu people, and the later settlement of the area by the French.

This historic area was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Recommendation for Registration report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Archaeological:

The events on the Akaroa Waterfront predate 1900, and as such define the area an archaeological site. The waterfront has associations with people, events and ideas of importance. Most of these take on an archaeological context as they relate to events which occurred pre-1900. It is possible, though unlikely through the sea action, that there would be any physical material associated with the French landing of 1840, or with the previous activities associated with Maori and European settlers.

This historic area was registered under the Historic Places Act 1993. The following text is from the original Recommendation for Registration report considered by the NZHPT Board at the time of registration.

Cultural/Spiritual:

There are many cultural and spiritual associations connected with Akaroa. The most significant of these are the Ngati Toa massacre of Kai Tahu and the French/English imperial clash. Te Rauparaha, the Nanto-Bordelaise Company and the French Navy (which had a ship on station for 6 years) feature in the history of the area and add to the mystique of this settlement.

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Additional informationopen/close

Construction Dates

Information Sources

Ogilvie, 1990

G. Ogilvie, Banks Peninsula; the Cradle of Canterbury, GP Books, 1990

Tremewan, 1990

P.Tremewan, French Akaroa: An attempt to colonise southern New Zealand. Christchurch,1990 [University of Canterbury Press, with the Historical Branch of the Department of Internal Affairs]

Other Information

A copy of the original report is available from the NZHPT Southern region office

Please note that entry on the New Zealand Heritage List/Rarangi Korero identifies only the heritage values of the property concerned, and should not be construed as advice on the state of the property, or as a comment of its soundness or safety, including in regard to earthquake risk, safety in the event of fire, or insanitary conditions.