Getting home to her whanau is all one woman wanted for Christmas this year.

And Dee Brown got a huge welcome as she walked out of Auckland Airport's arrival gates - with big hugs and loads of kisses from two of her daughters.

Now living across the Ditch, in Canberra, Brown is among many Kiwis who touched down today in time to spend the big day with loved ones.

"I just had to be here for Christmas. Our family is from up north in Whangaruru and it's just huge - it's home,'' she said.

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Daughters Taunaha and Lauryn Munday, who were armed with a "welcome back - missed you!'' balloon for mum, were thrilled to have her home for the holidays.

Dee Brown, centre, is reunited with her daughters Lauryn Munday, left, and Taunaha Munday on Christmas Day at Auckland International Airport. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Dee Brown, centre, is reunited with her daughters Lauryn Munday, left, and Taunaha Munday on Christmas Day at Auckland International Airport. Photo / Jason Oxenham

They said they made up only a small party of people who wanted to come to the airport.

"But they couldn't fit into the car, so we came to get mum,'' Taunaha said.

Brown, who works in the child welfare sector in Australia, said her work meant getting away was very much a special treat.

Her daughters said the last time she visited, she was here for about nine days.

They were now looking forward to almost two weeks with her, relaxing on the family beach and eating lots of seafood - specifically kina.

"My brother should be doing that now,'' Brown laughed.

"We have a huge family and I'm looking forward to just relaxing and being with family in this nice cool weather.

"We're spending a night in Auckland and then going up north tomorrow.''