Most airports: bleurgh, whatever, get me out of here.
Auckland: making a real effort on the welcoming people front!
I flew into Auckland using Latam Airlines. Read my review of that flight right here.
Before you get to baggage claim, there is a huge wooden hand-carved archway, called a tomokanga. It was unveiled in 2008 and you can read more about it here.
Everyone was stopping to get a picture of the arch – it's a super way to tell all visitors about the shared heritage of modern New Zealand, Maori and Pākehā.
International arrivals is pretty small – there are a few eateries and shops, but not much open at 3.30am when I arrived! I had to sit in the only open coffee joint (actually a McDonalds) for a couple of hours before I could leave the airport to get to my accommodation (which would let me in at 7am, but no earlier, understandably).
One thing I noticed in arrivals was this small plane suspended in the ceiling. I'm so glad I noticed it as I learned later that it was the plane of New Zealand's first female pilot.