NZ Hotel Industry Awards - women wow judges

Women have dominated this year’s New Zealand Hotel Industry Awards, winning seven of the 10 individual awards, including the General Manager, Senior Hotel Executive and Outstanding Young Hotel Executive of the Year.

Awards recognising the key roles that go into running a successful hotel and an award for a hotel showing outstanding environmental innovation were presented at a gala dinner in Auckland (Thursday 20 July), attended by more than 320 hotel sector and tourism industry leaders.

“It was exciting to see so many awards being collected by exceptional female employees, in a sector where senior management has traditionally been male dominated,” says Sally Attfield, Hotel Sector Manager at Tourism Industry Aotearoa which co-hosts the awards with Horwath HTL.

“Pipiana Whiston, the winner of the General Manager of the Year Award, has worked her way up the ranks of Millennium Hotels & Resorts NZ for more than 25 years, culminating in her appointment as GM of the Millennium Hotel Rotorua in 2005.

“Our Senior Hotel Executive of the Year, Judy Chen, is another star performer and a great asset, not only to the Grand Chancellor NZ Hotels, but to the wider hotel sector and tourism community. Like Pipiana, Judy is passionate about helping to shape the future generation of tourism and hotel employees.”

Horwath HTL Director Stephen Hamilton says from the housekeeper of the year to the outstanding concierge, competition was fierce across the award categories.

“These are the premier awards for New Zealand’s valuable hotel sector. More visitors stay in hotels than any other type of accommodation. They are major economic contributors to communities and significant employers, offering many career paths, as highlighted by our awards.

“We were delighted to see the winners come from regions across the country, including Auckland, Rotorua, Wellington, Christchurch and Queenstown.”

Mr Hamilton says special mention must also be made of The Langham, Auckland, which won the Hotel Industry Environmental Initiative of the Year Award for the third consecutive year.

“The Langham, Auckland recently became the first hotel in Australasia to receive the prestigious Earth Check Platinum level of international certification, testament to their commitment to the environment.”


Winners (by region)



  • Hotel Industry Concierge of the Year Gustavo Concha, Chief Concierge, Hilton Auckland
  • Hotel Industry Food and Beverage Employee of the Year, sponsored by ServiceIQ Bhavna Abhilasha, Food and Beverage Supervisor, Sudima Auckland Airport Hotel
  • Industry Outstanding Young Hotel Executive, sponsored by Sparkle Master Drycleaners Christine Bronkhorst, Director of Quality, The Langham, Auckland
  • Hotel Industry Revenue Manager of the Year, sponsored by ARMA Chris James, Director of Revenue, Auckland Market, Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour
  • Hotel Industry Sales & Marketing Employee of the Year Gillian Knott, Assistant Director of Sales, Auckland, AccorHotels Hotel
  • Industry Environmental Initiative of the Year The Langham, Auckland


  • Hotel Industry Front Office Services Employee of the Year Hemal Ghetla, Front Office Manager, Sudima Lake Rotorua
  • Hotel Industry General Manager of the Year, sponsored by AHS Hospitality Pipiana Whiston, General Manager, Millennium Hotel Rotorua 


  • Hotel Industry Senior Hotel Executive of the Year, sponsored by Dalman Architects Judy Chen, Director of Sales and Marketing - Hotel Grand Chancellor NZ, James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor, Wellington


  • Hotel Industry Administration Employee of the Year Noreen Bancale, Financial Controller, Novotel Christchurch 


  • Hotel Industry Housekeeper Employee of the Year, sponsored by ServiceIQ Heide Holtz, Executive Housekeeper, Novotel Queenstown Lakeside