Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


James Cook Hotel's Matriarch Denise Thornton Retires

Executive Housekeeper, Environmental Manager and Matriarch of the James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor Retires

The James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor’s Executive Housekeeper, Denise Thornton, retires this Friday after 44 years at the central Wellington Hotel. Commencing on the front desk in 1974, Denise remembers her first day at the ‘Jimmy Cook’ with nervous excitement, honoured to be working at one of the first international hotels to grace the capital. Fast-forwarding to present day, Denise has managed the Housekeeping department since 1986 and has been pivotal in developing the sustainable and collaborative culture at the Hotel.

Reflecting on her environmental ethos, Denise has always viewed the Hotel as the “big house on the hill”. “It is important to understand the potential waste generation when operating 268 rooms, and therefore our sustainability efforts have to be considered, to minimise our effect on the environment and community we are a part of”. Looking to the future, Denise believes changing people’s attitudes to waste is vital. She came from a ‘fix it’ society, to a ‘replacement society’ however now sees the cycle reversing as the millennial generations focus on sustainability becomes apparent. The most recent positive change for the Hotel was purchasing over 100 reusable straws for the restaurant outlets (minimising the use of plastic), a move Denise strongly endorsed.

Leading one of the largest and most diverse teams as Executive Housekeeper, Denise has fostered a unique culture within her department. Along with providing a high standard of cleanliness throughout the Hotel, Denise encourages her team to interact with guests and to share their warm personalities through their work. She knows this is a good way for both guests and her staff to start the day, and she feels immense happiness when introverted team members gain more confidence after just a few weeks of employment. It is therefore the people Denise will miss most about her role, along with the stimulation and diversity a “different day every day” brings as Executive Housekeeper.

Additional achievements for Denise includes winning New Zealand Housekeeper of the Year in the 90’s and being a finalist at the New Zealand Hotel Awards, 2016. She established the Wellington Housekeeping Forum and has seen the Hotel achieve EarthCheck EC3 and Qualmark GOLD certification. One of her unforgettable memories was conversing one on one with Cliff Richards and her favourite place at the Hotel is the level 26 Executive Club Lounge for its picturesque views over Wellington. Revealing why she has remained at the same work place for over 40 years, Denise has appreciated the Hotels continuous ability to keep up to date with the market and changing preferences, reflected by the regular guests who keep coming back. It is these guests Denise will miss the most, along with her work family and the “big house on the hill” that is that James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor.

The James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor is located in the heart of Wellington City, conveniently situated between the leading retail district of Lambton Quay and the business hub of The Terrace. The Hotel features 268 accommodation rooms, two restaurants and bars, Infuse Day Spa, an exclusive 26th floor Club Lounge and a complimentary in-house gymnasium.


© Scoop Media

Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Land Report: Issues With Soil Degradation

An environmental report released today has found we are damaging and losing our soils and our native plants and animals. More>>


Water Quality Report: Cause For Optimism

National River Water Quality Trends released by Land, Air, Water Aotearoa (LAWA) this week, reveal that for all river water quality parameters monitored over a 10 year period, more sites were improving than deteriorating. More>>


IMF Report On NZ: Positive Economic Outlook

Minister of Finance Grant Robertson has welcomed the IMF’s Concluding Statement, released following its annual visit, which provides an independent assessment of the strength of the New Zealand economy. More>>


Retail Power Price: Review Panel Named

The Energy and Resources Minister Megan Woods has released the details of who will sit on an expert advisory panel which is tasked with leading a review into the price of electricity in New Zealand. More>>


Increasingly Disruptive Threats: Govt Cyber Security Refresh

Broadcasting, Communications and Digital Media Minister Clare Curran today announced a comprehensive refresh of New Zealand’s approach to cyber security. More>>


Regional Growth: Action Plan To Modernise Taranaki’s Economy

The Provincial Growth Fund (PGF) will invest up to $20 million to help future-proof the Taranaki region by diversifying its economy, creating additional jobs and leveraging off the strong base the region has established through its oil, gas and agricultural ... More>>


Winding Down Irrigation: Funding Ends For Crown Irrigation Investment

The Government has begun winding down public funding for large-scale irrigation through Crown Irrigation Investments Limited (CIIL), in line with the Coalition Agreement and the Confidence & Supply Agreement. More>>