Dave Hawkey, the long-standing boss of major tourism company Real Journeys, has resigned for family reasons.
Hawkey – who has been with the company for 10 years – will move to Christchurch to be with loved ones in the earthquake-ravaged city at the beginning of next year.
“If this year has taught me one thing, it would be the importance of family. I’ve watched as my family has lived through the Canterbury earthquakes and struggled to regain a sense of hope and security,” he says.
“As much as I love working for Real Journeys and living in what I consider to be one of the most beautiful places on earth, it’s time for me to go where I’m needed and that’s helping my family repair our home and recover from what can only be described as a devastating and very stressful year.”
Hawkey says he’s enjoyed the challenges of the tourism industry but adds “the time is right” for a new leader to take the company forward.
During the past decade, Real Journeys has grown from its Fiordland/Queenstown base – where it runs activities like the TSS Earnslaw and Milford Sound cruises – to now include operations on Stewart Island and in Lyttelton and Akaroa harbours. Despite the global economic environment negatively impacting tourism over the past three years, Hawkey says Real Journeys has remained buoyant.
Real Journeys chairman Bill Baylis acknowledges Hawkey’s contribution to the family-owned company: “Dave has made a significant contribution to the company over the past 10 years and we totally understand his reasons for leaving. The past decade has had its fair share of challenges and Dave is to be congratulated on his leadership and management through these times. I know his executive team and staff will miss him and his open style.”
Hawkey leaves Real Journeys in February 2012.