PM enjoys hospitality at Sudima, RSA, BNZ, CERA, and Invercargill
Prime Minister John Key will enjoy a photo opportunity with Rich Lister Sudesh Jhunjhnuwala at the opening of the Sudima Airport Christchurch redevelopment today.
His speech provides one of several photo opportunities the prime minister will enjoy on a whistlestop South Island tour where he also visits the RSA, Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority headquarters, opens the Lane Neave building on Cambridge Terrace, opens the BNZ Centre in Hereford St, before flying to Invercargill to open the new airport terminal there.
The Sudima opening marks a new phase in accommodation and tourism following the 2011 earthquakes.
For a $25 million investment, the hotel has a further 88 rooms, improved street-side façade and lobby entrance, boosted its conferencing capacity and opened a new bar/restaurant.
Originally opened in 1966 as the White Heron Hotel, it was acquired by the Jhunjhnuwala family in 1999, re-branded as Sudima Christchurch Airport and became the first member of the Sudima Hotels and Resorts group.
The group is seeking investment opportunities in other regions.
The two-year project has made the hotel one of the largest conferencing facilities in Christchurch.
For three days at the height of the February 2011 earthquakes, the hotel was a temporary home to 3000 guests, which provided food and shelter to those awaiting flights out of the city.
Artist and vice-president of the Sudima group Laxmi Jhunjhnuwala has produced a collection of contemporary artworks that have been hung in the hotel’s reception and in each room.
The artwork also appears on the label of the hotel’s bathroom amenities.
The Jhunjhnuwala family has had a presence in New Zealand since 1991, initially investing in industrial properties.
Originally from Burma, where the Jhunjhnuwala's established a business in Rangoon that created textiles and garments for export, the family relocated to Hong Kong following the military coup in the 1960s.
Niwas Jhunjhnuwala built up Sudima International Private, which is involved in diverse fields such as manufacturing, processing and export, trade, trade finance and services, spanning many countries including New Zealand.
By 2005, the family owned about $100 million worth of New Zealand real estate and is best known for its stake in the Sudima Hotels in Auckland, Rotorua, Hamilton and Christchurch. It also owns the Sudima corporate suites in Brisbane.
The New Zealand arm of Sudima International is run by Sudesh, who lives with his artist wife Laxmi in a Mission Bay, Auckland home.
Sudesh is a son of Niwas, who still chairs Sudima International Private.
The Sudima will soon be one of three Christchurch airport hotels with the addition of a JUCY Snooze Backpacker, and a planned Novotel.