On the eastern shores of New Zealand’s South Island, Akaroa is a popular tourist destination with a distinctly French flair, its history steeped in legend. It lies on the volcanic Banks Peninsula, which the Maori believe was formed when a hero named Maui piled mountains upon a giant who threatened to eat his children. The same peninsula was purchased from the local Maori by a French whaler around 1838, and was later settled by both the French and the British, who had just signed the Treaty of Waitangi ensuring New Zealand’s existence as a British colony. With French-named streets leading to restaurants serving French cuisine and colonial architecture all around, Akaroa’s heritage as the only French-founded community in New Zealand is unmistakable. Akaroa harbor is home to a diverse array of marine life, including rare Hector’s dolphins, and visitors are lured by the area’s secluded beaches and quaint boutiques.