Hospitality New Zealand has announced Sara Tucker, currently External Relations Director at Lion NZ, as this year’s Hospitality New Zealand Hall of Fame recipient. The prestigious title was awarded during the Association’s Annual General Meeting last week, in place of the annual conference and awards ceremony which was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Hospitality New Zealand Hall of Fame is presented to those who have made significant contributions to the hospitality industry, are admired and respected by their peers and have demonstrated passion and dedication to the sector.
Ms Tucker has provided excellent leadership and ongoing support to the industry in her many roles within the sector - including her more than 13-year tenure at Hospitality New Zealand, which saw her move up the ranks from Regional Manager in Auckland and Wellington, to Operations Manager and onto Deputy Chief Executive.
“The hospitality industry has been a significant and important part of my life. It’s an industry that I love and which has given me many opportunities, great memories and lifelong friendships. I am lucky to have worked with such fantastic people over the years and I’m extremely humbled by this announcement from HNZ,” says Tucker.
Hospitality New Zealand President, Jeremy Smith, recalls back in the 1990s when Ms Tucker worked for the Loaded Hog Group (one of the first microbreweries in New Zealand) and soon became National Operations Manager, just prior to joining the Hospitality New Zealand team in 2001.
“Sara is a stalwart of our industry. Her intelligence, tenacity and commitment have shone through in every role she’s held, and her personable nature has enabled her to make friends whilst often dealing with challenging issues.
“I had the opportunity to work closely with Sara while she was at Hospitality New Zealand where she played an integral part in lobbying on the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act. I was nothing but impressed with her work ethic and dedication to the industry. She has continued to exemplify this throughout her career and is very deserving of this award.”
Ms Tucker's roles within the hospitality community have left her with a credible presence and her cross-industry relationships are second-to-none. “As a well-respected sector leader, Sara is most deserving of this recognition. Her professionalism, integrity and collegiality reflect the spirit of the industry. She is generous with sharing her insights and vast experience, and holds values that support innovation, sustainability and diversity in our industry’s future,” says Kevin Mapson, Chair of NZ Alcohol Beverages Council.
Hospitality New Zealand Chief Executive, Julie White, says Sara has been an asset to the industry - not only as an enthusiastic advocate but a born leader.
“I saw Sara’s spark over a decade ago and she’s shown no signs of slowing down. She’s results-driven, politically savvy and has always delivered on her word. Passionate about the greater good for the industry, her unwavering support and commitment to hospitality is second to none.''
“We’re so grateful to have someone like Sara championing our sector and are delighted she’s being recognised as a standout. We look forward to continuing to work with Sara and benefiting from her invaluable contributions to our industry,” says White.