Peraki, a Māori language place name with an initial spelling of Pireka, is a bay on the south side of Banks Peninsula, New Zealand. It is the site of the first permanent European settlement in Canterbury.[1][2] George Hempelman, a Prussian whaler, established a whaling station in the bay in 1835, and from 1837 lived there permanently.[3] Peraki has a small cemetery, one of the earliest European cemeteries in New Zealand.[4]

Grave of George Hempleman at Akaroa Cemetery

The Wairewa and Akaroa Counties paid for a memorial to Hempelman that was placed on Peraki Beach in March 1939. The memorial is made up of a whale try pot with the following inscription:[5]

Erected to commemorate the centenary of the first white settler in Canterbury, New Zealand, Captain George Hempelman, who established a whaling station at Peraki in 1835.

Hempelman flew the German flag in front of his house, and in 1840[6] he was ordered by Captain Owen Stanley of HMS Britomart to take it down, with the Union Jack raised instead.[5]


  1. "Christchurch: a history". Christchurch City Libraries. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
  2. Wises New Zealand Guide (7th ed.). 1979. p. 343.
  3. Crean, Mike (6 April 2013). "The glory days of whaling long gone". The Press. p. C12.
  4. Du Plessis, Rosemary (15 December 2014). Death and dying - Burials and cemeteries. Te Ara: The Encyclopedia of New Zealand. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
  5. "Hempelman Memorial". Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser. LXIII (6522). 31 March 1939. p. 1. Retrieved 22 January 2015.
  6. Berry, P. L. (1964). "II - Early Germans in New Zealand and the Chatham Islands". Germans in New Zealand: 1840 to 1870 (PDF) (thesis). University of Canterbury. Retrieved 22 January 2015.