The image of Twilight actress Ashley Greene holding her hands to her face in delight as her boyfriend proposed went around the world. And that's great news for Waikato tourism.

She was at Raglan's Bridal Veil Falls with her partner of three years, Paul Khoury, when he dropped down on one knee to ask the Hollywood star to marry him. The photo of the rock he planted on her left hand is nearly as memorable as her reaction. 

Ashley Greene - Twilight Engagement - Raglan NZ, Waikato district Open Waikato

Media outlets from CNN to American Vogue all posted stories to their online pages of the short film he made of the proposal.

The pair had both posted the video to their Instagram accounts, which had text naming the location.

Furthermore, Greene has posted several gushing posts about the area, including where the couple stayed - Waoku Lodge.

In another post, Greene says "I can't get over how beautiful it is in Raglan. Everywhere you look, it's nothing short of stunning. #newzealand #heaven #merryandbright."

Waoku Lodge Retreat Ashley Greene Twilight Open Waikato Raglan Waikato district New Zealand

And yet another "A magical land where filters aren't necessary. Couldn't be in a more beautiful place with a more beautiful human. #newzealand#natureisbeautiful #❤️ #nofilter."

Having endorsements for the natural beauty in Waikato on social media that filtered into the mainstream media was a huge win, said Hamilton and Waikato Tourism chief executive Jason Dawson.

"People are always raving about Hobbiton and Waitomo Caves, but to have the natural environment of Raglan go so big is fantastic."

It helped that the couple were American, Dawson said.

The North American tourist market is mature, he said. New Zealand attracted 270,000 from that part of the world in 2016.

But snagging a Hollywood star pushed it beyond that horizon, he said.

"Hollywood and Bollywood stars have fans that have cult followings. People want to relive these experiences themselves."

It was too early to tell, but Dawson said having that sort of endorsement should only have positive impacts on the tourism market in the region.

The beauty of the spot was something all the locals already knew, Raglan Ward Councillor Lisa Thomson said.

"It's nice someone famous has said it, I suppose, but we are already aware of how beautiful it is," Thomson said.

Thomson had not seen any of the posts and did not even know who Greene was, but she hoped it would have positive repercussions for tourism in the area.


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