"The weather was perfect, the food was sublime, the traditional dancing was mesmerising, and the atmosphere was electric!"


It was a wonderful night out for the Cook Islands tourism industry at the 2016 Air New Zealand Cook Islands Tourism Awards, in particular for the category winners recognised during the celebrations.

In all, sixteen awards were presented at the event held at the National Auditorium in Avarua on Friday 15 April in the presence of the Cook Islands' Queen's Representative Tom Marsters, the Cook Islands' Prime Minister Henry Puna, the New Zealand High Commissioner Nick Hurley, local dignitaries and tourism industry leaders.

More than 300 guests attended the awards dinner seated in the forecourt of the National Auditorium.

The weather was perfect, the food was sublime, the traditional dancing was mesmerising, and the atmosphere was electric! It is fair to say that a good time was had by all.

Guest speakers Cam Wallace, Air New Zealand's Chief Sales and Commercial Officer and Sir Michael Hill KNZM (Michael Hill Jewellers) added to the festivities.

The big winner on the night was the cultural performance attraction, Te Vara Nui. In addition to the Tourism Attraction Award, they won the Supreme Award, and Vara Hunter, the inspiration behind Te Vara Nui, won The Outstanding Contribution to Tourism Award.

The Lifetime Achievement in Tourism Award went to the founder of Cook's Island Bus Passenger Transport, Kevin Cook.

Below is a full list of the winners of the 2016 Air New Zealand Cook Islands Tourism Awards.

ANZ Bank Environment Award
Pacific Resort Rarotonga

Ministry of Culture – Culture Award
Island Discovery Tour by RaroTours

Cook Islands Sun – Internet Marketing Award
Ikurangi Eco Retreat

Pitt Media Group – Customer Care Award
The Mooring Cafe

CITC – Family Friendly Award
The Edgewater Resort

Bank of the Cook Islands – Destination Wedding Planners
Muri Beach Club Hotel Weddings

Bank of the Cook Islands – Private Holiday Homes Rental Award
Kaireva Beach House

Cook Islands Tourism Corporation – Tourism Restaurants & Catering Services Award
Sails Restaurant

Bank of the South Pacific – Festivals and Events Awards
Motu 2 Motu Aitutaki

Air New Zealand – Tourism Attractions Award
Te Vara Nui Cultural Village

Air New Zealand – Tourism Industry Support Award
South Pacific Publishing Limited

Cook Islands Tourism Corporation – Self Catering Accommodation Award
Makayla Palms

Bank of the South Pacific – Hotels & Resorts Award
Pacific Resort Aitutaki

Oustanding Contribution to Tourism Award
Vara Hunter

Lifetime Achievement in Tourism Award
Kevin Cook

Air New Zealand Supreme
Te Vara Nui Cultural Village

Thanks to the Cook Islands Tourism Industry Council - Awards Committee for organising this year's event.

The next Air New Zealand Cook Islands Tourism Awards will be held in 2018

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