Exceptional Alien and Tourism New Zealand have come together for the first time to launch an Aotearoa Country Special. The project is designed to celebrate New Zealand, and invite people to experience its inspirational places through the lens of its most exceptional creators. Part 1 will be released online from 29 November 2021.
The Aotearoa Country Special will share the travel experiences of 10 exceptional New Zealand creators, including Māori-Samoan chef and author Monique Fiso, renowned fashion designer Karen Walker, acclaimed photographer Derek Henderson, 2020 Gourmet Traveller’s New Zealand winemaker of the year Jen Parr, and multi-award-winning singer-songwriter Benee. The destinations explored in Part 1 extend across both the North and South Islands, including the locations of Auckland, Wellington, Queenstown, Piha and Central Otago.
Co-founded by Justin Drape and Michael Canning (pictured above with Tourism NZ’s Andrew Waddel), Exceptional Alien is a global community of people who love travel and creativity. What began as a way to share the travels of creative friends across the globe has now become a fast-growing network of over 20 countries and 30 nationalities. The Exceptional Alien team is building a community of celebrated creators who share their ‘Travel Playbooks’ of inside recommendations for the places that inspire them. The community now features industry leaders like world champion surfer Mick Fanning, award-winning screenwriter Adele Lim (Crazy Rich Asians, Raya and the Last Dragon), hospitality giant Maurice Terzini (Icebergs Dining Room and Bar, CicciaBella), senior curator at MoMA New York Paola Antonelli, chef of the moment Josh Niland (Saint Peter, Fish Butchery, Charcoal Fish), and emerging global creative talent like photographer Myles Loftin and architect Jamiee Williams. A series of Country Specials celebrating exceptional creative talent, community and culture is planned for release in 2022.
Exceptional ALIEN co-founder Justin Drape says: “Creativity informs the most rewarding experiences that travel has to offer — be it food, wine, fashion, photography, design and entertainment — yet until now there’s no single platform that curates travel through a creative lens. With our Aotearoa Country special, people can learn about New Zealand through the personal stories, insights and recommendations of the creators featured.
We’re thankful to be sharing their inspiring stories and we’re thrilled that Tourism New Zealand has recognised that Exceptional ALIEN is a future-facing way to share and experience travel.”
Exceptional Alien co-founder Michael Canning says: “The travel experiences of Aotearoa are infused with magical creativity and spirit. We are grateful to share New Zealand through the lens of its inspiring creative community, and their most cherished places and hidden gems for others to discover. Following the Aotearoa Country Special, we are excited to explore a series of country specials that immerse audiences in destinations around the globe through the lens of travel and creativity.”
The Aotearoa Country Special will be curated as a unique set of editorial features, social video and audio Travel Playbooks, including the story of the creators’ travels, cultural insights about New Zealand and recommendations to explore for yourself. Following the release of the first five creators’ stories, the second group of five will be shared in February 2022.
Tourism New Zealand General Manager — Australia, Andrew Waddel says: “Exceptional Alien is a new and pioneering travel platform that uncovers how exploration can fuel creativity and be transformative. Our partnership with Exceptional Alien brings this belief to life and builds a love for New Zealand through the eyes of 10 inspirational creators and their travel stories.
Being the first country to collaborate with Exceptional Alien is a fantastic opportunity to showcase both people and place, in an innovative format. The Exceptional Alien Travel Playbooks allow travellers to feel the embrace of New Zealand before they travel and connect directly to a range of travel gems that Aotearoa has to offer.”
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