Wellington hospitality legend Peter Norrie has been inducted into the Hospitality New Zealand Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame showcases people who have made significant contributions, demonstrated passion and commitment, and are admired and respected by their peers.
Norrie's induction took place recently during Hospitality NZ's annual Awards for Excellence ceremony in Auckland.
For 43 years, he has played an integral role in the capital's hospitality scene, including starting iconic businesses and serving on industry bodies.
He began his journey in the industry in 1977 by purchasing the lease of Wellington's iconic Clarendon Hotel on the corner of Taranaki St and Courtenay Place. After this, he spent 13 years in accounting and finance, during which he owned a textile importing company.
According to Norrie, his investment in the Clarendon made him realise the prospects for success in the liquor industry, which propelled him into a storied career.
Over the next 43 years, he purchased, developed, and sold over 26 individual liquor properties covering all areas of the industry, including the development of another Wellington hospitality landmark, the Bond Street Inn, in 1981 – the first new build by an independent operator in the city for more than two decades.
Norrie has also given back to the industry with distinction, serving as Wellington association branch President for three years, Treasurer for 15 years, and as a Board member of the national association from 199 to 2008. In 2022, he was made a Life Member of the Wellington branch.
One of his most outstanding achievements was "staying married and capturing a few dollars". In December, he and his wife, Pamela, will celebrate "59 years of marital bliss".
Norrie shared that he is honoured to accept the honour of being inducted into the Hall of Fame.
"Hospitality has been in my blood for 43 years, and it's really great to be recognised in this way."
The pandemic has tested everyone in hospitality during these challenging and tough times. However, Norries believes that for operators to succeed, they need to be innovative and think outside the square.
Innovation played a big part in his life, as is evident from an incident while he was at Christchurch Boys High School, which would be a pointer to his future career.
"I perceived an opportunity to sell flagons of beer to thirsty fellow seventh form cricketers from the school tuck shop. I was the young lad in charge of the shop. I could access the building in the weekends. The naivete of youth, of course – I was always going to get caught," shared Norrie.
"The only thing that saved me from being expelled was that I had been awarded the Board of Governors' prize for service to the school the previous year. The tuck shop had made its largest profit in 35 years!"
According to Julie White, Hospitality Chief Executive, Norrie is a true legend in hospitality.
"Peter has achieved and contributed a huge amount during his career and deserves our top accolade. Without him and others like him, hospitality across New Zealand simply would not be the same welcoming place it is."