Construction of a $200 million five-star hotel in downtown Auckland has begun, with Prime Minister John Key breaking ground for construction this morning.
The Prime Minister was joined by Bejiing-based property developers Fu Wah International Group, whose involvement in the project is one of the largest foreign investments in New Zealand tourism infrastructure.
The day began with a sacred ceremony led by local Maori who blessed the sod, which was then placed into a waka huia and presented to Fu Wah founder, Madam Chan Laiwa.
A traditional Chinese blessing followed.
Fu Wah won the development rights for the hotel in 2013 after an international search was conducted by land owner, Council organisation Panuku Development Auckland.
"For many years this signature site has been known as the home of our America's Cup sailing team, Emirates Team New Zealand, but being blessed with some of the best views of the Waitemata Harbour and Auckland City it was always destined for so much more." said Panuku Development CEO, John Dalzell.
The 195-room hotel will be managed by world-renowned Hyatt Group, and will be one of only 37 hotels world wide.
The hotel was designed by both international and local architectures and construction will be a joint venture between Chinese and New Zealand based construction companies.
A further $2.5 million will be spent by Fu Wah to go towards a public promenade, walkway and art display in the area surrounding the hotel.