Rich in Maori history
Three successive phases of Maori tribe settlement took place on the peninsula. Waitaha were the first settlers, followed by Kāti Mamoe, and then Ngai Tahu took over in the 17th century.
The crew of Captain James Cook became the 1st Europeans to sight the peninsula on 17 February 1770 during Cooks first circumnavigation of New Zealand. Cook described the land as ‘of a circular figure … of a very broken uneven surface …’. Cook mistook it for an island and named it ‘Banks Island’ in honour of Endeavours botanist, Joseph Banks. Cook did not explore the land more closely and sailed away.
By 1830’s Banks Peninsula had become a European Whaling Centre. In 1838 Captain Langlois, a French whaler thought that Akaroa would make a good settlement to service whaling ships. He purchased the peninsula in a land deal with the local Māori, then returned to France…
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