Revealed: The regional airport voted New Zealand's best

As Auckland came out of COVID-19 alert level 3 and travel out of the city became possible again, the Newshub Travel community voted on a straw poll to find out which regional airport is Aotearoa's favourite. 

It sounds like a cliché, but after thousands of votes the results were very close - two airports within the top five were separated by just two votes.

There was no runaway winner, with all airports receiving under 15 percent of the total vote. If this was an MMP election result, we would be in for an interesting three years ahead.

But, there does have to be a winner. 

1. Nelson Airport

The stunning architecture and deep connections to community may have played a part in Nelson Airport being voted New Zealand's favourite Regional Airport.

Revealed: The regional airport voted New Zealand's best
Photo credit: Newshub.

Sally Russ, Nelson Airport's airline partnership and landside operations manager says as with all Kiwi experiences, it's about the people.

"Our staff have a sense of pride. We have created a 'wow' welcome experience for our region with our outstanding terminal built to really show you that you've landed somewhere special, somewhere our community is proud of. After all, Nelson Tasman is just a bit special!" says Russ.

The winning team!
The winning team! Photo credit: Nelson Airport

"We have a genuine willingness to help our customers with their journey whether they are arriving or departing and what better way than with a welcoming smile."

2. New Plymouth Airport

One of New Zealand's most historic airports has now been voted one of New Zealand's favourites.

Wayne Wootton, the chief executive of New Plymouth Airport, says this result reflects the fact his team are aiming high for the future.

Revealed: The regional airport voted New Zealand's best
Photo credit: Newshub.

"This is a testament to the great effort that the team put into the day to day airport operations and the hugely successful collaboration between all parties during the construction of the new terminal building which showcases the cultural heritage of the local iwi," Wootton said.

"The magnificent new terminal, with an international look and feel, will become a future iconic building and a fantastic gateway to the Taranaki region."

3. Gisborne Airport

Not only is Gisborne Airport one of New Zealand's most liked airports, it's also one of the most unique in the world with a railway line running right through the middle of it.

As well as a world famous runway, the team at Gisborne Airport say their cafe's banana cake is also world famous.

Revealed: The regional airport voted New Zealand's best
Photo credit: Newshub.

Rounding out the top five, there were just four votes separating Tauranga Airport in fourth place from Whakatane Airport in fifth.

Feedback was mixed on the appearance of Whakatane's terminal - some were very critical of my suggestion it came from Fantasyland. Proof you should never judge a book by its cover, or an airport by its dated exterior.

Lets take another look at it.

Revealed: The regional airport voted New Zealand's best

Final Results:

  1. Nelson Airport
  2. New Plymouth Airport
  3. Gisborne Airport
  4. Tauranga Airport
  5. Whakatane Airport
  6. Rotorua Airport
  7. Palmerston North
  8. Hamilton Airport
  9. Invercargill Airport
  10. Hawke's Bay Airport
  11. Whangarei District Airport
  12. Whanganui Airport
  13. Marlborough Airport
  14. Hokitika Airport

After just over a week of voting and a total of 3283 votes, it's clear people are passionate about their local airports. It's great to see and will be absolutely vital in the rebuilding of tourism in New Zealand.

So, now that you've voted for your local airport, choose one of the others on the list - jump on a plane and support their local economy too.

Share your thoughts on the results in our Newshub Travel Facebook group.

Disclaimer: This poll was not scientific - its results are based on votes made in a straw poll on Newshub Travel.