Whale Watch Kaikoura has won one of the world's top tourism awards, taking the supreme title at the Responsible Tourism Awards in London.
The awards recognise tourism operators for their commitment to the culture and economies of local communities, and their contribution to biodiversity conservation.
Almost 600 organisations, individuals and destinations were nominated from around the world.
Director Thomas Kahu told Checkpoint Whale Watch Kaikoura was thrilled to win the best in a marine environment category, and then to take the supreme award was even better.
Judges praised the company, owned jointly by Ngai Tahu and Kaikoura hapu Ngati Kuri, for its journey from humble beginnings to an internationally significant operator with whale watch ventures on both sides of the Tasman.
Chief operating officer Kauahi Ngapora told Waatea News picking up the supreme award in front of 5000 operators from 200 countries was a humbling yet exciting experience.