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Why French-inspired Akaroa is one of New Zealand’s most unique places | Instant News


Aerial view of the Akaroa waterfront, New Zealand. Photo / 123rf

At the pier at Akaroa Harbor, waves slamming lazily on the pile. Today’s harbor is milky white, the mud from the Rakaia and Rangitata rivers hanging in the water, having completed its long journey from the Southern Alps and across the Canterbury Plains. It turned out that the water turned powder blue from a distance, but from where we sat, it was icy cold and clear.

Just back from the water, diners sit under sunscreen on wicker chairs outside the Bully Hayes bar, and watch yachts and schooners bobbing on the sparkling water just steps away. A gull full of hope hovered overhead, watching the chip situation. From our point of view, cold beer in hand, this could be France on a sunny summer day – if it weren’t for the sound of Fat Freddy’s Drop bringing a breeze. And the fact in New Zealand that we are sitting in the caldera of an ancient, flooded volcano.

Akaroa has so many stories, and so much history, to unravel. Made by volcanoes, inhabited by Māori, founded by the French, claimed by the British.

It’s a French heritage largely traded in the city, but the city’s authenticity, albeit based on fact and history, comes with a hint of flicker – a medieval marketing tool for luring tourists to the city.

Old Akaroa lighthouse, Banks Peninsula.  Photo / 123rf
Old Akaroa lighthouse, Banks Peninsula. Photo / 123rf

It is true that this is Canterbury’s oldest city, and indeed it was founded by about 60 French settlers who arrived in 1840. But the French colonizers never got the right footing (the British quickly declared sovereignty over all of New Zealand to cut France off) and at The 1950s there is only one surviving example of French architecture in Akaroa – the courthouse, which is now part of the Akaroa Museum.

In the 1960s, French suddenly made a comeback – the city’s oldest streets with French origins were renamed “rue” and the modern identity of Akaroa began.

It is a very picturesque place, in a sheltered harbor surrounded by historic buildings and beautifully manicured gardens. It’s fun to walk along the “street”, to eat Toulouse sausages from a local butcher, or see posters for the annual “French festival”. To feel like you are in a place slightly different from other parts of New Zealand.

If you want to understand Akaroa’s history and heritage, a stop at the museum is a must. This is where we learn that Captain Jean-Francois de Surville was sailing these waters at the same time as Cook on the Endeavor, in the late 1760s. (Even though Cook named the area Banks Peninsula, he actually mistook it for an island). The French established themselves in the area, naming the bay of Port Louis-Philippe, creating a whaling and naval station, a doctor’s office, and a built road. For a time, French culture and language dominated.

The descendants of those 60 French settlers remain, and indeed lately, a French accent is heard, a more recent import from Europe. On the burial slopes of French L’Aube Hill, the names Pierre, Libeau and and Fleuri attest to the authenticity of the relationship.

Akaroa in the afternoon sun.  Photo / CCC
Akaroa in the afternoon sun. Photo / CCC

How to see Hector’s famous dolphin

The French may have lured us to the city, but it’s another famous resident we’d love to see today – Hector’s dolphin, one of the smallest dolphins in the world. Their number is disputed, but there is generally an agreement between 9,000 and 15,000 in the world. Here on the Banks Peninsula, about 1500 reside.

We went with Coast Up Close, a small business run by skipper and owner Tony, who has been taking tourists out on Wairiri – a fishing boat built in Invercargill – for 10 years. It’s the perfect day for that, with clear skies and clear water.

In fact dolphins prefer small shelters. Because sharks don’t use echo locations, they prefer to hunt when the water is clear. Dolphins like a little mud for camouflage. Even so, they didn’t keep their distance. As we emerged from the harbor, our first sighting occurred within minutes. In between the sightings, Tony commented on the port, geology and history of Akaroa.

Judging from the water, Akaroa’s natural setting is clearer. We sailed across a volcanic crater, been extinct for about 6 million years, and now inundated by the sea. This massive cone, which forms the backdrop of the Akaroa mountains, has been eroded to only two-thirds its size.

As we sailed further afield, we saw Ōnuku Marae from Ngai Tahu, and a pretty little church nearby, built in 1871, one of the oldest non-denominational churches in New Zealand. Between dolphins, we saw red-billed gulls and white pigeons circling, taking advantage of the hunting of kahawai under the waves, pushing bait fish to the surface.

Hector's Jumping Dolphins at Akaroa Harbor.  Photo / Tony Muir
Hector’s Jumping Dolphins at Akaroa Harbor. Photo / Tony Muir

The benefits of a small boat aren’t just the comments and personal service you get from the captain. It’s also maneuverable, getting you straight to the shoreline and around (and sometimes through) rock. They do things a little differently on this ship. If the dolphins show up, that’s fine, but if they don’t, it’s up to them – captain Tony won’t chase them. He has been known to jump from the side when he wants a little fishing. On our return trip, a free diver approached his kayak to chat, and showed him the catch of the day – quinine and cray. He’s 75 years old. The young backpackers on the ship were flabbergasted.

But dolphins are stars and whenever they appear the deck is filled with oohs and aahs. They easily approached, surfed in the pressure waves that the hulls created beneath the surface, ducked and dived in front of us.

Back ashore at Akaroa

Back on land, like Mad Dogs and Englishmen, we took a walk in the midday sun. The small town is divided in two by a promenade, where locals and visitors stroll among the shops and cafes. But summer days can get very hot here. As in Europe, on hot days the locals retreated inside, or into the beautiful flower-filled gardens lining the streets, the roses falling on the wooden fences.

We walked to the ocean end of the Rue Balguerie, and watched the kids bomb from the pier, then came back and found ourselves at Harbar, a small restaurant and beach bar situated directly on the water, overlooking the French Bay. We settle for cold beer, gin-soaked mussels and fries, and watch the boat toss around. It may be summer on the Riviera, but here, a unique slice of Aotearoa.

Get out at the harbor and see the dolphins

Hectors dolphins are a must. Coast Up Close takes you out on their little kauri launch, allowing you to get up close and personal with the incredible dolphins, seals, sea caves and cliffs of the Banks Peninsula. The 2.5 hour cruise leaves twice a day. coastupclose.co.nz

Go sea kayaking with penguins

Across the Banks Peninsula, you’ll find the Pōhatu Marine Reserve, which is home to the largest Little Penguin colony on mainland New Zealand. Day trips on the Pohatu Penguins will pick you up from Akaroa, take you on a scenic tour with stops, across the peninsula, then sends you out into the water to see penguins as well as seals, seabirds and other wildlife. pohatu.co.nz

Walk the Banks Track

This three day and three night hike is a hidden gem. New Zealand’s oldest private walk offers stunning views through farms and forests, charming accommodation – and some well-worth the hike. It’s just enough challenge to make you feel good enough about yourself. Along the way, you’ll find up-close wildlife, unique huts, and the picturesque Hinewai Nature Reserve, an ecological restoration project. It is self-catering, but package carts are included. For an extra $ 50, you can have a chilled cabin that is driven into the cottage, so you don’t have to skimp on wine, cheese, and sausages. bankstrack.co.nz

A hiker along the Banks Track.  Photo / Alister Winter
A hiker along the Banks Track. Photo / Alister Winter

Visit the Giant’s House

The Giant’s House is a sculpture garden created by artist Josie Martin. This is an eccentric Gaudi-esque mosaic display, including sculptures of animals, people, flowers and chairs. You can walk there from town – walk straight down Rue Balguerie from Beach Rd. thegiantshouse.co.nz

For more New Zealand travel ideas and inspiration, visit newfinder.co.nz and newzealand.com

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Dunedin residents get a surprise visit from sea lions in their backyard | Instant News


Mandy Wennekes had a horse roaming her property before – but never a sea lion. Photo / Provided

It’s not every day you look at your backyard and see huge sea lions just roaming around – but that’s what happened to Mandy Wennekes and her family yesterday afternoon.

A Dunedin resident said he couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw a sea lion sitting in his yard.

“We’re just a little confused,” he said. “It’s not something we thought we would see.”

The family lived on Ocean Drive, very close to the beach, but this was the first time they had received a visit from a sea creature before.

“We’ve had horses emerge from shore before, by accident, because a wrong turn brought them into the property,” he explained, “but never sea lions.”

To reach their lawns, sea lions must go through three routes, including one up a steep hill.

The animal roamed for half an hour and didn’t seem bothered by the dog’s barking at him.

Hearing the noise from the dogs, her husband tried to see what the fuss was about. It was then that he saw a huge creature roaming their property.

“My husband tried to get closer to her and she started making noise so we stayed away from her.”

“I think they’re looking for a partner at the moment,” said Wennekes.

“All the females hide in the bush with their chicks.”

After about 30 minutes, the animal continued its journey, and was reportedly later seen back on the beach.

After posting a photo of his visitor to a local Facebook group, the residents of Dunedin were contacted by a member of the New Zealand Sea Lion Trust who clarified that the sea lion is over 10 years old and is male.

“What a wonderful visitor! I love how politely he sits on the fence. This big guy must be 10+ years old – that mane, wow – and that’s what we call a beachmaster,” Jordana, of the Sea Lion Trust, said citizens.

“I’m a little surprised that this guy is in Otago and not in the Sub-Antarctic Archipelago who rules over a beach full of women! But also …. he really still looks like a big puppy to me! A very, very big puppy. once you enjoy a special meeting that will not happen anywhere in the world, “he added.

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Iran: German envoy, France summoned after EU condemns execution | News | DW | Instant News


The Iranian Foreign Ministry on Sunday summoned the German and French ambassadors in protest at the condemning remarks Execution of a journalist in Tehran punished for inspiring anti-government protests, said Iranian state media.

In a statement following the announcement of the hanging of Ruhollah Zam on Saturday, the European Union said it condemned the execution on “the strongest terms” and said it remained against the use of the death penalty under any circumstances. Germany currently holds the rotating presidency of the EU.

The European director of the Iranian Foreign Ministry told Ambassador Hans-Udo Muzel that the remarks were “an unacceptable interference in Iran’s internal affairs,” according to state news agency IRNA.

Ruhollah Zam used to live in France

France is also on the firing line

IRNA also reported that the head of the French Embassy in Tehran had been summoned. Zam has been granted political asylum in France and lives there, but he is seems to be confiscated in Iraq by Iranian authorities while traveling. The French Foreign Ministry called the executions a “barbaric and unacceptable act” and a “crushing blow” to free speech in Iran.

Zam, 47, was sentenced to death in June after conviction “corruption on Earth” – a term often used to denote accusations involving espionage or attempts to overthrow the Iranian government. He was hanged on Saturday, according to Iranian state television.

The Zam AmadNews website and the Telegram channel have provided information about the timing of national anti-government protests that began in late December 2017 which were triggered by sudden spikes in food prices. Zam was also said to have helped spread embarrassing information about officials in Iran’s Shiite theocracy.

tj / rc (AP, AFP)

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Cabinet Prime Minister Imran Khan cleans chemical castration in principle, hang rapist | World News | Instant News


Islamabad: To combat the increasing incidence of sexual assault against women and children in Pakistan, the federal Cabinet has approved in principle two anti-rape regulations aimed at providing exemplary punishment, including chemical castration and hanging, to rapists, according to media reports.

A cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad on Tuesday also decided to change the definition of rape, Dawn News reported on Wednesday.

The 2020 Anti-Rape (Investigation and Trial) Ordinance and the 2020 Pakistan Penal Code (Amendment) Ordinance will be finalized within a week of enactment, said Information Minister Shibli Faraz.

The two anti-rape regulations, approved in principle by the Cabinet, aim to provide exemplary punishments for rapists, including chemical castration and hanging, the report said.
Welcoming the “big decision”, Faraz said the anti-rape regulations changed the basic definition of rape and suggested harsh penalties for gang rape and hanging of rapists.

For the first time in Pakistani history, the definition of rape has been changed to include “transgender” and “group rape” in it, the report said.

The proposed law also prohibits the controversial ‘two finger’ test of victims of rape. The World Health Organization has declared the test “unscientific, medically unnecessary and unreliable”.

Human Rights Groups also called the testing invasive, disrespectful and a grave violation of women’s rights to dignity and privacy.

Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari tweeted, “The Cabinet Committee for the Disposal of Legislative Cases (CCLC) will now finalize (regulations) and it should start operating in the next few days. This includes a broad definition of rape, the establishment of special courts, anti-crisis cells rape, protection of victims and witnesses, and prohibition of the two-finger test. “

Minister of Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry called the approval of the regulation an important achievement of the government.

He said the law also allows chemical castration for ordinary rapists.

Live TV

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