Yesterday we stopped in Akaroa, NZ. We had originally been scheduled to stop in Christchurch, but they have still not completely recovered from the 2010-2011-2012 earthquakes. As often as they try to rebuild, aftershocks interfere with the work.
We all need to send them our prayers and good energy. I also hear the bureaucracy has not been helpful, but the people have descended from all the surrounding region with tools and materials, Where the will of the people is focused, the bureaucrats must follow, eventually. Think New Orleans!
So instead, we anchored in the idyllic harbor of Akaroa, which in Maori means The Long Harbor. Humans have been here a long time, When the Dutch mariner Abel Tasman charted it in 1642, people had lived here for thousands of years. His name lives on with the Tasman Sea, and Tasmania.
The Dutch named the whole area after their Zeeland Province, Thus Nieuw Zeeland–New Sealand. Not a bad name!
Akaroa is the remnant of a volcanic crater, Captain Cook charted the area in the 1770s, and the Treaty of Waitangi made it, and its surrounding Banks Penninsula, British territory.
Therefore, when French colonist Jean Langlois arrived with his band of French colonials in the 1840s, he found that this area was no longer available. The French reluctantly accepted British colonial status, and thus Akaroa was founded.
The French heritage is present everywhere, and many of the streets are still Rue Lavaud, Rue Benoit, Rue Jolie etc. There is a French cemetery, and numerous French B&Bs, e.g. “Maison des Fleurs,” House of Flowers. French flags abound among the NZ Flags. This may not be a formal Condominium as is New Caledonia / La Nouvelle Calédonie, but the influence is here!
Since we could not dock due to size, we took Tenders (the Lifeboats) to the Main Town Pier. It was so reminiscent of taking a shuttle from the Enterprise or the Galactica to the Planet’s surface. The Harbor was so placid that there was very little Yaw and Pitch, far less than the 2012 ferries to Maya country.
As we disembarked, lovely, golden age residents welcomed us with maps and directions. It was obvious they really loved their town and wanted to share it with us, and the passengers of the Princess Cruise Line also anchored in the harbor (harbour here, of course).
We walked down the harbor front, and I found some great Maori figures to bring home. Walking down further, we passed a WWI memorial that was being repaired. I learned later that 2/3 of NZ men of fighting age fought in WWII. This country has sacrificed much to preserve democracy on our planet, and have done a bang-up job of implementing it at home.
I rested for a while on a bench in front of a grocery store, and enjoyed playing with the many dogs walking with their humans in the area (Angus…don’t get jealous!).
This is small town friendliness to a “T.” Idyllic, proud of its past, hopeful and practical fort its future (e.g., the area Telecom is experimenting with setting up free Wi-Fi zones around its pay telephones), this is a place you will fall in love with quickly.
Walking up as side-street, we visited St. Peter’s Anglican Church, a stunning wood Church built in 1863, while we in the USA were immeshed in the Civil War. When I get home and get the bandwidth, I’ll post all the pics of these spots on Facebook.
We had an expresso, and then headed back, stopping off at the first shop I visited http://www.studiosixtysevenakaroa.com, where the very kind proprietor had volunteered sua sponte to keep my purchases until I returned, so I would not have to carry them around.
That is the spirit of this town, and this Country. Genuine brother and sisterhood with fellow humans and all the inhabitants of our Planet.
We made it back on lucky Tender 13 (our own Lifeboat), and it is good to know that it floats!
Today, Dunedin! I will report!
… Sorry for the brevity and typos: Sent from remote on the phone.