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Wellington’s Zealandia secures top honour at New Zealand Tourism Awards

Wellington’s Zealandia secures top honour at New Zealand Tourism Awards
November 9, 2023

Wellington wildlife sanctuary Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne has been named New Zealand's top tourism attraction for 2023.

Zealandia was presented with the Air New Zealand Supreme Tourism Award at the New Zealand Tourism Awards yesterday evening in its hometown of Te Whanganui-a-Tāra Wellington.

Judges said Zealandia was a local icon and a “worthy exemplar” for others to follow, consistently demonstrating the qualities that the tourism industry held dear.

Receiving the award, Zealandia’s Chief Executive Dr Danielle Shanahan said the award really was “one for the birds”, noting “Zealandia has absolutely transformed what tourism means in Aotearoa New Zealand, and it’s because of some incredible people - volunteers, staff members, trustees. These are the people who make this place hum, who make Wellington thrive.”

Tourism Industry Aotearoa Chief Executive Rebecca Ingram said she was delighted with the judges’ choice, stating “Zealandia is everything we love about tourism: protecting our wildlife, telling our unique story, thrilling visitors and beloved by its community.”

Organised by Tourism Industry Aotearoa (TIA), the Tourism Awards provide a benchmark of excellence in the industry and highlight its contribution to New Zealand.

As well as the Supreme Award, Zealandia took home the Airbnb Tourism Excellence Award (Small-Medium Business). Judges said the attraction had strong metrics and values, a truly impressive masterplan and its 500-plus band of volunteers who no doubt agreed.

Overall, there were more than 120 entries in this year’s awards, with Ingram commenting that she wanted to warmly congratulate everyone who entered.

Ingram added “it’s been an honour to hear the stories of these companies and the ways they’ve found, sometimes against tough odds, to thrive and widely contribute to their communities.

“The values that are shining through a lot of these entries are very affirming, qualities that no doubt win them much support from their host communities and visitors alike.”

New Zealand Tourism Awards 2023 Winners

Air New Zealand Supreme Tourism Award
Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne

Airbnb Tourism Excellence Award (Small-Medium Business) 2023
Zealandia Te Māra a Tāne

BDO Tourism Excellence Award (Large Business) 2023
Skyline Queenstown 

KiwiRail Tourism Environment Award 2023
Christchurch Airport

NZME Visitor Experience Award 2023
Altitude Tours

Toroa ā-uta, Toroa ā-tai Māori Tourism Award 2023
Tauhara North Tourism - Te Pā Tū

Tourism Industry New Zealand Trust Community Engagement Award 2023
EcoZip Adventures

Tourism New Zealand Industry Collaboration and Alignment Award 2023
Kohutapu Lodge & Tribal Tours Ltd

Tourism Talent Employer of Choice Award 2023
GO Rentals

Westpac Resilience and Innovation Award 2023
Tauhara North Tourism - Te Pā Tū

Individual Awards
Eudora+ Emerging Tourism Leader Award 2023

Heidi Farren, Altitude Tours

Marsh Tourism Industry Champion Award 2023
Margaret Davidson, Mitchell Corp

Sir Jack Newman Outstanding Industry Leader Award 2023
Malcolm Johns

Images: Zealandia (top) and Dr Danielle Shanahan with both Zealandia's awards (below). Credit: Zealandia.

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