Some of Aotearoa's most welcoming and creative Airbnb hosts have been named as part of the platform's first ever host awards.
The awards also recognise the best listings and experiences available across the motu.
The winners highlight some of the unique and often very Kiwi places available to book online.
Host of the Year was awarded to Christchurch local Angela Cossey, whose new townhouse in central Christchurch has attracted near perfect reviews from guests, especially for the additional extras she often throws in including treats and colouring books she leaves for families who stay at her listing.
Winning hosts were selected based on extensive Airbnb data, guest scores and reviews, with oversight from a panel of judges that included renowned interiors expert and TV host of The Block Shelley Ferguson, and expert Superhost Merrydith Callegari.
"It's fantastic to see that multiple corners of the country are covered, with winning hosts hailing from Waiheke Island in Auckland, down to Christchurch and Queenstown, and up to regional Taranaki," said Susan Wheeldon, Airbnb's Country Manager for New Zealand and Australia.
Airbnb New Zealand Host Awards Winners 2021:
Host Of The Year
Angela Cossey, Christchurch
Angela and her husband both have a military background and were avid users of Airbnb, staying at listings all around the world, before deciding to become hosts themselves.
The Block Shelley Ferguson told Newshub it's important that hosts aren't overbearing and find the right balance between being welcoming and hospitable, yet discreet.
"Communication is really key. Ensuring that you're responsive to guests and communicate clearly about everything from the directions to help find your listing, to the best local cafes and small businesses to support in the surrounding area. The winning hosts had mastered that art of not being seen, yet being immediately on hand if needed," Ferguson said.
"A lot of them even offered their own equipment like mountain bikes or kayaks for guests to use.
"Many of the top hosts also went out of their way to include thoughtful little touches that guests raved about. From freshly baked bread in the mornings to a vase of wildflowers picked from the property and even birthday cakes for special occasions."
Community Contribution Award
Kaye Parker, Queenstown
Parker is a well-known member of the community, renowned for her dedication to helping others. To support marginalised people badly impacted during the pandemic, she launched the 'Greatest Need Fund' and raised more than $1 million through her networks. The money was donated to a range of frontline charities, supporting hundreds of people in the Queenstown area.
Best Designed Stay
Studio Seventy Four, Wellington
Located on a ridge with views overlooking Wellington, architect and host Cushla Thurston designed the space as a studio for her and her artist husband Richard. The studio features timber pieces handcrafted by Cushla's father, a renowned timber miller.
The studio is divided into clear sections and is completely private, despite Cushla and Richard living in the main house on the same block. The outdoor bathtub is described as a big showpiece that allows guests to immerse themselves in nature with a luxurious twist.
Ferguson said she personally liked the restraint exercised - rather than build a huge home on the hill, the house is small but very cleverly planned with every available space maximised.
"This results in the natural landscape being the main feature, and the house almost forcing you to be at one with the surrounding land. This architectural design has been flawlessly planned by a family of creatives with a long history on the land and even includes features made from materials milled on the local farm."
Best Unique Stay
Away Treehouse, Waiheke Island
Hosts Wayne and Sue Gilinsky's octagonal treehouse has been designed for guests to rejuvenate while surrounded by nature. Located at the eastern end of Waiheke island, Away Treehouse features wrap-around windows and a viewing deck high above the forest canopy that's promised to let guests feel immersed in the lush surroundings.
"This property is a complete spiritual experience with total isolation from everyday hustle and bustle, hosts Wayne and Sue have designed every detail to ensure an experience that gives body, mind and soul a break," Ferguson said.
Best Regional Stay
Ecoscape, a self-contained off the grid tiny home, Korito, Taranaki
This eco-friendly, tiny home was built by host and mechanical engineer Edward Lawley in just 40 days as a way to pay off his student loan. Nestled at the base of Taranaki with the mountain at its doorstep, the listing is powered by both solar panels and hydro turbines, making a stay here as off the grid as it gets.
Ferguson says the fact that it's off the grid is what makes this property so unique and attractive.
"Living off the grid gives you the freedom to live anywhere. I think this resonates with many of us now more than ever. Due to COVID our lives have fundamentally changed over the past couple of years and it's left us really questioning where and how we want to live, and how we can have more control of fundamentals like food and power," she said.
Most Magical Experience
The Contemporary Jeweller, Arthur's Point, Queenstown
Jessica Winchcombe is a jewellery designer by trade and opens her home art studio to Airbnb guests for three-hour workshops. Highly passionate about her craft, Jessica teaches guests the art of designing and creating a beautiful piece of silver jewellery from scratch.
"This is an experience that not only teaches people a new skill, it gives them confidence they can do something they didn't think they could. It's also a really special bonding experience for those going with a loved one," Ferguson said.