Banks Pennisula is home to a lively events calendar with annual events drawing large crowds of both locals and visitors. Time your visit to coincide with one of the region's iconic events.
On 6 February, New Zealand marks the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840. The treaty was signed by representatives of the British Crown and over 500 Māori chiefs and is often considered to be New Zealand’s founding document. The day was first officially commemorated in 1934, and it has been a public holiday since 1974.
Since 1977, Waitangi Day has been celebrated by the Okains Bay Māori and Colonial Museum and the local community. The annual event, which is the longest continuous celebration in the South Island, includes a hāngī, waka being paddled up the river, and many other traditional games and activities.
La Grande Swim
Generally held mid-February, La Grande Swim is set in the picturesque surroundings of either Childrens Bay or French Bay. It's easy for everyone to get involved with 4 swim distances to choose from, ranging from 200m to 2.8km.
Seaweek, hosted by the New Zealand Association for Environmental Education (NZAEE), highlights the valuable resource of the sea and what we can learn from studying it. The theme for 2015 is "Look beneath the surface - Papatai ō roto - Papatai ō raro". Various activities and events will be held during late February and early March.
An annual cycle challenge, Le Race begins in Christchurch and finishes at Akaroa's Recreation Ground. Held in mid to late March, this popular 100km cycle race is complete with amazing views and plenty of hills to get the blood pumping and the heart racing!
Akaroa Harvest Festival
Held at the Akaroa Area School grounds, this free, family-friendly event includes great produce, music, children's activities, a jam competition and surprise entertainment!
Immerse yourself in French culture and see the town come alive with Gallic entertainment over this 3-day, biennial festival in October. Highlights include the French beach landing, flag raising, historical re-enactments, market stalls and cricket match.
In 2015, Akaroa celebrated its dodransbicentennial - 175 years since the first organised European settlement in August 1840. It's the oldest European settlement in Canterbury and this anniversary was celebrated throughout the year with events in August and October.