Auckland Airport welcomes thousands of people that return to or visit New Zealand to spend time with their friends and family at Christmas. We present some of these magic moments.

Maryam Ghanadiof and her family were visibly excited as they waited, after driving for five hours from New Plymouth to Auckland, for their friends to come through the arrival gates.

Ghanadiof and her family last saw their friends Pooya and Molly Sadi five years ago.

Yesterday, the lifelong Middle Eastern friends were reunited at Auckland International Airport after the Sadis' flight from Los Angeles touched down at 10am.


Coming from their home in Canada, the Sadis were greeted by their friends with colourful leis, flags and a banner with Mount Taranaki on it that read "Welcome to Kiwiestan".

The friends hugged and laughed and left bright red lipstick smears on each other's cheeks.

The Sadis will stay in New Zealand for one week and travel around the North Island, with Ghanadiof acting as tour guide.

Molly Sadi said she put her trust in Ghanadiof to plan the itinerary.

"[We will] visit different places, visiting friends and staying with them," Pooya Sadi said.

Ghanadiof said places like Tauranga, Taupo and New Plymouth were on the agenda for the tourists.