New Zealand’s inaugural Airbnb Host Awards winners revealed

Some of the country’s most welcoming, creative and big-hearted Hosts on Airbnb have been recognised as part of the platform’s very first Host Awards.

Celebrating the top Hosts, listings and Experiences on offer across New Zealand, the Airbnb Host Awards aim to shine a spotlight on Hosts for the incredible work they do for guests and the wider community.

With categories such as Best Unique Stay, Best Designed Stay and Best Regional Stay, winners range from an off-the-grid tiny home in Taranaki to an architecturally designed studio in Wellington, and a stunning octagonal treehouse located on the eastern end of Waiheke Island.

Host of the Year was awarded to Christchurch local Angela Cossey, whose luxurious new townhouse in central Christchurch has attracted rave reviews from guests, especially for the thoughtful touches including treats and colouring books she leaves for families who stay at her listing. 

Queenstown local Kaye Parker won the Community Contribution Award for launching the ‘Greatest Need Fund’, raising more than $1 million in support of frontline charities helping those marginalised in the community.

Artist Jessica Winchcombe, who hosts an Airbnb Experience where guests complete a three-hour hands-on workshop learning to design and create a piece of silver jewellery from scratch, was awarded Most Magical Experience. 

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, who sits on Airbnb’s esteemed global Host Advisory Board. 

Ferguson said the quality and breadth of finalists was impressive, making it a difficult task to review and score Hosts.

“It was an honour to be involved in Airbnb’s first-ever Host Awards and to be asked to choose a winner from an incredible range of finalists based right across the country. 

It’s been so inspiring to learn about all the special touches and attention to details these Hosts put into their guest experience – they really pour their heart and soul into making each and every stay memorable for the guests lucky enough to stay at their beautiful listings,” Ferguson said.

It was difficult to judge, but the winners are all excellent examples of what it means to be a Host on Airbnb.”

Susan Wheeldon, Airbnb’s Country Manager for New Zealand and Australia, said: 

“We are thrilled to have the opportunity to recognise and reward Hosts who continue to go above and beyond for guests and their communities.

“Every day, Hosts offer one-of-a-kind stays and unique experiences that make it possible for guests to experience the world in a more authentic, connected way.

“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. There’s also a range of price points, from luxe listings to tiny homes and everything in between.

“These Hosts exemplify how hosting can be a meaningful and rewarding experience that also benefits the wider community. We recently announced a new, simplified process for becoming a Host in just 10 steps, meaning it’s never been easier to not only earn an income from your home or spare room but to make a valuable contribution to your local area by channelling visitor dollars into small businesses.”

Please find the full list of award finalists at


*NOTE: There were up to five finalists per category in New Zealand

Please see a link to high res imagery of each host and listing here.

HOST OF THE YEAR – recognising Hosts who have gone above and beyond to ensure guests have an amazing stay

WINNER: Angela Cossey, Christchurch

ABOUT THE HOST: 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. Angela wanted to provide her guests with a thoughtful, private, amazing and comfortable stay. She has poured her heart and soul into her Christchurch listing, and has tried to give the home its own unique personality, with quirky wallpaper and artwork. Angela leaves a complimentary assortment of snacks for her guests as well as toys and colouring books for children. Passionate about promoting small businesses within her community, Angela has even created complimentary coffee cards for her guests to encourage them to explore the cafes in her neighbourhood. 

JUDGE MERRYDITH CALLEGARI: “Angela used her extensive travels to inform her choices at her listing. She says her motto is “fortune favours the brave” and she has been brave and fortunate. She hopes some of that passion will rub off on her guests, and from her reviews it does seem true. Her guests describe her as considerate, thoughtful, tasteful and generous.”

COMMUNITY CONTRIBUTION AWARD – recognising Hosts who go above and beyond not only for their guests but the local communities within which they live

WINNER: Kaye Parker, Queenstown

ABOUT THE HOST: Kaye is a Host Leader of the Queenstown Host Club. Airbnb Host Clubs are a great way to get insider access to Airbnb news, exchange Hosting advice, and connect with other Hosts in your area. Kaye is a well-known member of the community, renowned for her dedication to helping others. To support marginalised people badly impacted during the pandemic, Kaye 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. 

JUDGE MEREDITH CALLEGARI: “This Host gives all of herself and then finds more to give – Kaye is the definition of a dynamo! Kaye runs her business (really well) and does things that benefit the Host community and people in need. That is true commitment.”

BEST DESIGNED STAY – recognising Hosts who design their homes in a way that reflects their inner personalities and passions

WINNER: Studio Seventy Four, Wellington

ABOUT THE LISTING: Located on a ridge with breathtaking views overlooking Wellington, Architect and Host Cushla Thurston designed the space as a studio for her and her artist husband Richard.  With a style ethos that focuses on quality and simplicity, 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 a big showpiece that allows guests to immerse themselves in nature with a luxurious twist.

JUDGE SHELLEY FERGUSON: “Good design considers every available space and how to maximize it in a multitude of ways. This architectural design has been flawlessly planned by a family of creatives and even includes features made from materials milled on the local farm. The design is understated but you still feel a sense of luxury from the materials, fit out and finishing touches. The exterior design is perfectly poised to take advantage of the spectacular 360 degree views, even while soaking in the incredible outdoor tub!”

BEST UNIQUE STAY – recognising Hosts who have a unique and amazingly distinctive home

WINNER: Away Treehouse, Waiheke Island, Auckland

ABOUT THE LISTING: Hosts Wayne and Sue Gilinsky’s idyllic octagonal treehouse has been designed for guests to rejuvenate while surrounded by nature. A magical haven at the eastern end of Waiheke island, Away Treehouse features wrap-around windows and a viewing deck high above the forest canopy, allowing visitors to feel truly immersed in the lush surroundings. The treehouse’s magnificent untreated timber ceiling emit’s an authentic woody aroma. Sue, a qualified massage therapist, is also available for wellness treatments for guests seeking the ultimate relaxation experience. 

JUDGE SHELLEY FERGUSON: “There is truly something magical about being immersed in a forest, especially perched high above the forest floor. This property is a complete spiritual experience with an immersion in native bush, total isolation from everyday hustle & bustle, and experiences that relax and rejuvenate. Rather than just being an enjoyable stay, this experience has been designed to nourish your soul. Guests raved about the sense of peace, the stunning night sky and the location – remote yet with all Waiheke Island has to offer on your doorstep.”

BEST REGIONAL STAY – recognising Hosts who showcase the best of regional New Zealand

WINNER: Ecoscape: Self-contained off the grid tiny home, Korito, Taranaki

ABOUT THE LISTING: 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 unmatched mountain views, the listing is powered by both solar panels and hydro turbines, making a stay here as off the grid as it gets. Located on a 10-acre farm, guests can kayak on the nearby lake, meet farm animals and embark on a nature walk on a 1.5km stretch of boardwalk that lights up at night, thanks to hundreds of glow worms. Thoughtfully designed, with stylish yet modern interiors, the tiny home is built from 100% recycled materials.

JUDGE MEREDITH CALLEGARI: “The scenery is incredible, even though many guests say the photos don’t do it justice, they are pretty amazing. This tiny house has a raw functional beauty and embodies the ‘regenerative tourism’ movement. A fantastic example of sustainability and clearly the ideal getaway for nature lovers.”

MOST MAGICAL EXPERIENCE – recognising Experience Hosts who, through their expertise and passion, have the ability to immerse guests in a whole new world

WINNER: The Contemporary Jeweller, Arthur’s Point, Queenstown

ABOUT THE EXPERIENCE: 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. Jessica prides herself on looking after everyone as an individual and tailoring her workshops to suit the skills, abilities and interests of her  guests. Her guests often walk away amazed at what they were able to create with their own hands in just a short amount of time. 

JUDGE SHELLEY FERGUSON: “Usually we appreciate the beautiful pieces that craftspeople make, but never get an insight into how they are actually made. Jessica is a professional jewellery designer and welcomes guests into her actual studio, guiding them through the process of making silver jewellery from scratch – they even walk away with their own custom piece. 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 who attend with a loved one.”