Humbled Hagaman has plans for city

ALAN WOOD
Last updated 05:00 31/12/2013
Lani and Earl Hagaman
Lightworkx Photography
POWER COUPLE: Earl Hagaman with wife and Scenic Hotel Group director Lani Hagaman.

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Earl Hagaman says he is humbled to be made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit and busy with plans to add to the recovery of the Christchurch accommodation sector.

Hagaman's services to business, tourism and philanthropy have been recognised in the latest New Year honours list.

He is executive chairman of the Scenic Hotel Group and has been involved in hospitality and tourism for more than 30 years.

"If (feels) really fine, sort of a self-satisfaction that I've done my best and I'm very glad it was recognised," Hagaman said of the honour.

Hagaman's Scenic group has become the largest entirely New Zealand-owned and operated hotel chain with accommodation across the country. The group lost Charlie B's Backpackers Hostel and saw the Scenic Suites on Kilmore St closed as a result of the earthquakes of 2011. The Charlie B's site has since been sold.

The group has a collection of 17 hotels, and is looking for new sites including in Christchurch.

The company expanded overseas in 2012 with the opening of Scenic Hotel Tonga, close to the international airport on Nuku'alofa, and is looking for other opportunities in the Pacific Islands.

Hagaman is worth an estimated $180 million, according to the NBR Rich List 2013, and in 2009 became the sole recipient to date of a New Zealand Hotel Industry Achievement Award.

He and his wife Lani have also been involved in a wide range of philanthropic causes, contributing millions of dollars to community and sporting groups and health research.

He said his family values integrity and inclusion, and the group supports New Zealand business and enterprise locally and nationally whenever possible.

He continued to advocate for progress and improvements in New Zealand tourism, and has put forward a proposal suggesting the Government should build a road between Haast and Hollyford on the West Coast of the South Island.

He would like to see the development of a paper road dating from the 1880s advance to a toll road through the region.

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- The Press

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