4 Sep 2013

Whale Watch Kaikoura on award watch

6:42 am on 4 September 2013

A Ngai Tahu owned South Island whale watching operation is a finalist in an international tourism award.

Whale Watch Kaikoura, which started in 1987, is one of five nominees in the new People's Choice category of the World Responsible Tourism Awards.

The South Island company say it carries 90,000-100,000 passengers every year on energy efficient boats which have little impact on the marine environment.

Chief operating officer Kauahi Ngapora says it was selected by the awards panel partly based on its past award success, including being named Supreme Winner and Best Marine Environment in 2009.

The company is happy to be named a finalist alongside four others from places such as Chile and India, Mr Ngapora says.

It would love to win and is trying to seek votes from the public. However, if Whale Watch does not win, it says it's just nice to be named a finalist.

People have until 5 September to vote, and the winners will be announced on 6 November.