Hagaman happy after award

Tourism entrepreneur Earl Hagaman is not resting on his laurels, with plans to further expand his hotel empire.

The Christchurch man, who has large residential and commercial properties in Picton and Blenheim, was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit at Government House in Auckland yesterday. The honour was for services to business, tourism and philanthropy.

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

He said he felt "euphoric" after yesterday's ceremony. His wife, Lani, said the pair did not plan to take a rest now, as the company was still on the path to expansion.

Mr Hagaman said it was nice to be acknowledged for what he had done for the tourism sector, but there was a lot of hard work involved.

"We've done everything we could, within our power, for the tourism industry."

Mr Hagaman's Scenic group has become the largest entirely New Zealand-owned and operated hotel chain, with accommodation across the country, including a hotel in Blenheim's Henry St.

The group lost Charlie B's backpackers hostel, and saw the scenic suites in Kilmore St, Christchurch, closed as a result of the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. The Charlie B's site has 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.

Mr Hagaman is worth an estimated $180 million.

The Marlborough Express