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Akaroa is a town on Banks Peninsula in the Canterbury region of the South Island of New Zealand. It is 82 kilometres by road from Christchurch, and is the terminus of State Highway 75. According to the March 2001 New Zealand census of population and dwellings, the permanent population was 576, a decrease of 69 since 1996. The town has a high (31%) ratio of residents aged over 65 years. Set on a beautiful, sheltered harbour and overlooked by craggy volcanic hills, Akaroa is a popular resort town. In summer the temporary population can reach 7000 which places stress on the water supply which is entirely dependent upon rainfall on the hills. Although sailors from the hastily-despatched HMS Britomart proclaimed British sovereignty over the South Island at Akaroa in 1840, the area was settled that same year by French settlers who had intended to establish a colony. The area still has a French influence, reflected in many local placenames. Many Hector's Dolphins may be found in the harbour, and 'swim with the dolphins' boat tours are a major tourist attraction. The French settlement was known as Port Louis-Philipe; before 1840 it was also known as Wangaloa. The name Akaroa is Kāi Tahu Māori for 'Long Harbour'. Description courtesy of Wikipedia