Seeking Airbnb hosts from around Wanaka

That Wanaka Tree (Winter 2016) Photo: Nikki Heath / Wanaka Sun

A Massey University PhD candidate is coming to Wanaka later this month to speak to Airbnb hosts in the town.

Whitianga local Stella Pennell is focusing on the sociology of tourist regions in New Zealand and has turned her energy to researching her PhD thesis, which investigates the large growth and social impact of Airbnb on the country’s tourist towns.

Stella, pictured, particularly wants to understand the experiences of resident hosts, who are opening their homes and properties to visitors, and how that is impacting their lives.

“Most of the academic work seems to come out of Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, but I want to look at regional tourist towns, where Airbnb has been massive,” Stella said.

“I am really interested in looking at it from people’s lived experiences. I want a feel for what it is like for somebody who hosts tourists - the changes they deal with and the positives and negatives that come from it.”

Stella will be in Wanaka from August 21 to 25 and anyone interested in speaking to her can contact her on 027 238 0105 or at

All of her interviews are for Massey University research purposes and will be handled with strict confidentiality.

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