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Hospo master steps back from landmark city hotels

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“Slowing down a bit”… semi-retirement… call it what you will, but it doesn’t ring true of this tireless man of Hamilton.

General manager of Hamilton’s Novotel Tainui and Ibis Tainui Hotels, Dick Breukink, would have us believe he’s about to take his foot off the accelerator.

This ‘’almost 64-year-old”, born in the Netherlands, came to New Zealand about 12 years ago.

Breukink has experienced the hospitality industry from many angles while working 29 years for the internationally acclaimed Accor Group.

For quite some years Accor had this master-of-hospitality and all that goes with it overseeing hotels in Thailand, Malaysia, The Philippines, Netherlands and finally New Zealand.

“I am very fond of this part of Asia and their enormous sense of what the hospitality sector is all about,” said Breukink.

His first local posting was to Christchurch where, as general manager, he opened the Ibis Hotel.

Next Accor had Breukink take over as general manager of the Novotel Tainui, a position from which he could oversee the birth in 2007 of the Ibis Tainui on land directly across the street.

“Novotel Tainui, the only four-star hotel in Hamilton, is about to post its best financial result in its 20-year history,” he said.

“Since I have been here we have hosted kings and queens, prime ministers, cabinet ministers, top teams in rugby, soccer, rowing and cycling, to name but a few.”

As to his own sports achievements, tennis was one game he favoured but reckoned he was never going to be a star.

Running came into the frame and in the past 10 years Breukink has completed 111 half marathons and is about to take on his 16th full marathon in New York in a couple of weeks.

When quizzed about slowing down a bit, he said he would still be in the market for other work as he feels he needs new challenges.

“I will be available to consult on hospitality if someone needs a hand,” he said. “And I would consider directorships.”

Breukink already has a fair portion of his time taken up with charity work.

“I am a member of Rotary and will continue because of all the good work they do as an organisation.”

He feels that the two hotels under his wing have an important role to play in local society.

“It’s not just accommodation, restaurant and bars,” he said. “Sure, it is important as a hotel but it must stand up within the community.

“This is something I have always enjoyed and endeavoured to promote.”

Slowing down will give Dick the ability to take off where he wants and when he wants.

“My son (24) and daughter (22) are both living in Auckland and enjoying great jobs after completing their studies at the University of Auckland.

“I also have two brothers in Holland who I will be able to visit more often.

“But most important is my 94-year-old mum, who also lives in Holland. She is feeling her age nowadays and deserves a visit from the ‘travelling’ son.”

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