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New Zealand shines on the global stage with double triumph

A Geosite in the Waitaki Whitestone Geopark.

Hawke’s Bay becomes the 12th Great Wine Capital and Waitaki Whitestone Geopark earns UNESCO accreditation.

SINGAPORE – New Zealand solidifies its position as a premier global tourist destination with two prestigious achievements. The country celebrates as Hawkes’ Bay is recognised as the world’s newest Great Wine Capital and as Waitaki Whitestone Geopark is established as a UNESCO Global Geopark. These remarkable accolades further elevate New Zealand’s status as a must-visit location for discerning travellers seeking extraordinary experiences.

Hawke’s Bay

Hawke’s Bay Crowned 12th Great Wine Capital Of The World

Hawke’s Bay, New Zealand’s oldest wine-growing region, proudly joins the ranks of esteemed global wine destinations such as Bordeaux (France), Bilbao (Spain), and Napa Valley (USA) as the newest Great Wine Capital of the world.

This prestigious recognition celebrates Hawke’s Bay as a world-class wine destination, offering visitors a remarkable experience that combines Art Deco heritage, long vineyard lunches, and cellar door bike tours. The selection of Hawke’s Bay as a Great Wine Capital is a testament to the region’s quality wine destination and a welcome boost for the wine industry as it recovers from the impact of Cyclone Gabrielle.

Hawke’s Bay’s inclusion in the esteemed Great Wine Capitals program was secured after a rigorous selection process that meticulously evaluates a region’s winegrowing industry, historical significance, wine tourism offerings, educational opportunities, business environment, and overall appeal.

CEO of Hawke’s Bay Tourism, Hamish Saxton says that being designated as a Great Wine Capital of the world is a truly remarkable milestone for the region. He says, “Hawke’s Bay’s inclusion as one of just 12 Great Wine Capitals of the world is of regional and national significance. It is recognition that Hawke’s Bay wines are among the world’s best, and that our nation’s wine growing industry, while still young, offers quality to rival the world’s oldest. We have long known that Hawke’s Bay, as New Zealand’s Food and Wine Country, stood out for its winemaking. This new achievement gives Hawke’s Bay a unique positioning in New Zealand and the world. The climate, unique soils and the innovation of so many talented individuals, have come together to deliver an accolade the region wholeheartedly deserves. It is a true legacy for the region and will continue to deliver benefits to industry, education, business and tourism for the years to come.”

Waitaki Whitestone Geopark Endorsed As New Zealand’s First Unesco Accredited Geopark

The Waitaki Whitestone Geopark received an official designation as New Zealand’s first and Australasia’s only UNESCO Global Geopark. With this recognition, New Zealand joins a distinguished list of only 48 countries globally that have earned this prestigious UNESCO designation.

The UNESCO accreditation highlights the region’s unique geological and cultural heritage and its commitment to sustainable development, education, and community engagement. Located in the Canterbury and Otago regions of the South Island, the Waitaki Whitestone Geopark is a treasure trove of geological marvels and historic sites, boasting natural beauty from the Southern Alps to the Pacific Ocean, and activities for all types of travellers.

Covering an area of over 7,200 square kilometers, the Waitaki Whitestone Geopark showcases diverse and spectacular geological features, including limestone cliffs, glacial valleys, and ancient marine fossils. Visitors get to discover more than 40 geological sites, many of which are free to visit – from incredible rock formations and ancient volcanic remnants, to evidence of creatures of days past such as giant prehistoric penguins and plesiosaurs.

Key geo-sites within the park include the Elephant Rocks (which featured in the film Narnia, the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe); the other-worldly pinnacles and red cliffs of the Clay Cliffs; and the iconic spherical Moeraki Boulders. Avid explorers will enjoy lesser known geo-attractions including the Valley of the Whales, exposed limestone and greensand cliffs
that were underwater 23 to 29 million years ago. Visitors with sharp eyes may even be able to spot fossils such as the teeth of an extinct white shark, the partial skeleton of the extinct ‘giant’ penguin Kairuku, and extinct baleen whale skulls.

The Waitaki Whitestone UNESCO Global Geopark will also serve as an educational resource, providing opportunities for students and researchers to study the area’s geology and cultural heritage.

Chair of the Waitaki Whitestone Geopark Trust, Helen Jansen, says “We have always believed that this is a very special area, telling the story of the 8th continent. It is the collective wisdom of many contributors over the years that has brought Waitaki and New Zealand to this exciting and historic moment.”

Celebrating New Zealand’s Achievements

Hawke’s Bay’s recognition as a Great Wine Capital and Waitaki Whitestone Geopark’s UNESCO Global Geopark designation mark significant milestones for New Zealand. These accomplishments firmly bolster the country’s tourism offerings and firmly establish New Zealand as a compelling destination for travellers interested in wine, culture and nature.

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