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1 Dec 2021

P.A.W.S. have settled in at Christchurch Airport

Christchurch Airport is delighted to welcome a new team of helpers… pet therapy dogs! These furry friends will be available in the terminal during peak periods, ready to provide some calming canine love to nervous travellers.

We are excited to soon become the first airport in New Zealand to offer pet therapy for airport visitors. Delivered by Hato Hone St John, the P.A.W.S programme (Pups Assisting With Stress) will see a range of friendly dogs available in the terminal for pats, cuddles and “paw-fives”.

Craig Dunstan, our Manager of Park to Plane and Customer Experience, explains the thinking behind the initiative.

"A lot of people find airports and travel quite overwhelming. With P.A.W.S, we're helping to alleviate tension by giving people something positive to focus on, a moment to literally pause and interact with the dogs and their handlers. It's a way to help people enjoy themselves as they journey through our airport."

- Craig Dunstan

The pups, together with experienced handlers and uniformed airport staff, will be located in approved areas of the terminal so that passengers can choose whether or not to stop for a pat.

"Ultimately, P.A.W.S is about putting a smile on someone’s face”, says Craig. “I'm a dog person so I might be a little biased, but we ran a trial and it went really well. People's faces lit up. Happy, smiley faces – that's what we love to see here at Christchurch Airport."

- Craig Dunstan

P.A.W.S is the latest addition to a wide range of initiatives all designed to make our terminal experience enjoyable for travelers. From an interactive art wall to roaming robots, we pride ourselves on doing new and innovative things that enhance the customer journey.

And if you’re not such a dog person? That’s okay, there’s no pressure to interact. But while doggie cuddles are completely optional, the flow on effects are good for everyone.

“It's an uplifting moment,” says Craig “and that lifts other people up too.”

To find out when the friendly pups from Hato Hone St John will be visiting the terminal for pats, cuddles and “paw-fives” see HERE