Two new Northland attractions top a list of must-see destinations in newly reopened New Zealand, according to the latest edition of National Geographic Traveller.
Stories in the magazine's June edition include "Why New Zealand should be on your travel wish list for 2022".
The introduction explains Matariki, the Māori New Year, will be officially recognised as a public holiday for the first time this year, then goes on to say: "New Zealand has lifted its border restrictions to UK travellers, two years after imposing them. And this year, all eyes will be on must-see sporting celebrations and new experiences that embrace Māori culture."
According to the magazine, the best of those new experiences are Manea Footprints of Kupe at Ōpononi and Wairau Māori Art Gallery in Whangārei.
Of the Provincial Growth Fund-backed Manea, the article states: "Kupe's epic journey has now been vividly brought to life by his descendants at Manea Footprints of Kupe. The new immersive and multi-sensory storytelling experience weaves together art, artefacts, film and live dance against the backdrop of Hokianga's stunning harbour."
The author then goes on to describe the "curved edges, mismatched windows and golden dome" of the Hundertwasser Art Centre, saying it feels like a collaboration between Spanish architect Antoni Gaudí and US filmmaker Tim Burton.
"The new museum in Whangārei is dedicated to the work of late architect and artist Friedensreich Hundertwasser, but inside you'll also find the Wairau Māori Art Gallery — the country's first exhibition space dedicated to contemporary Māori art."
Only then does the author cast his eyes south to sample Rotorua, Mt Hikurangi and Māori cuisine, as well as looking ahead to sporting events such as the upcoming women's Rugby World Cup, which will be played in Auckland and Whangārei.
Manea marketing manager Max Lloyd said he was "blown away" by the article.
"For us it's great to be acknowledged by a magazine of this calibre. It can only help us and it shows we're doing the right thing," he said.
Since the Covid pandemic began Manea had been forced to switch its focus to education and school visits.
"Looking at it from a glass half full perspective, it's forced us into different avenues we might not otherwise have gone into. New Zealand history becoming part of the school curriculum has definitely helped with that."
All the same, staff were looking forward to the return of international visitors.
During the pandemic they had been working to maintain connections overseas and form new ones.
The UK, where National Geographic Traveller is published, was a key market for Northland pre-Covid, Lloyd said.
It's only the latest in a series of accolades for Manea.
Last year Hokianga cultural tourism venture featured in Time magazine's list of the world's top 100 destinations of 2021, even though the nation's borders were closed at the time.
Also in 2021, Kiwi singing star Lorde pledged to donate half the proceeds of her new album to Manea, though that turned out to be a short-lived mixup — the trust that operates Manea has a near-identical name to a Māori-medium education trust in the Waikato.
■ Go to www.nationalgeographic.co.uk/travel/2022/05/new-zealand-travel-2022 to check out the story. The US version of the magazine, National Geographic Traveler, hasn't been printed since 2019 but the British version is said to be the best-selling travel magazine in the UK.