What was known by the early 21st century as the Turenne Dairy began its life in 1863 as the Criterion Hotel. It is the oldest surviving hotel building in Akaroa and one of its oldest commercial buildings.
Its life was nearly cut short before it reached 20 years old when an attempt at arson in 1882 failed. Later, in 1962, it also survived the spectacular destruction by fire of its neighbour, the Metropole Hotel.
The building is a fine example of simple, functional but well-proportioned colonial architecture. It was extended early in its life, but the extension was in character and the form of the original, square building is still apparent. In 1907, when the Licensing Commission was putting pressure on hotels to upgrade their premises, the building was refurbished as offices and a shop. There has been a shop of one sort or another in the ground floor ever since.
Some exterior alterations, including the addition of the shop verandah and the recent replacement of its sash windows, have impaired its historical authenticity, but it remains one of Akaroa’s most historic commercial buildings.