At the beginning of this year we set ourselves a target of a total of 100 chapters in New Zealand. This week we chartered two more chapters (Bay of Islands and New Lynn), taking our total to 98 and keeping us well on track to meet targets. Nothing succeeds like setting some goals and announcing them publicly.

The launch of the Bay of Islands Chapter was a fine example of how one established chapter can support the development of a new chapter. Our Whangarei Chapter needs to be commended for their help and support in getting their counterparts in the Bay of Islands up and running. The mentorship and support has been tremendous. Well done Whangarei!

On the subject of help and support, its time to begin thinking about your new leadership teams. If you want to positively influence your chapter, to grow it and to gain more benefit from your BNI activities, then we encourage you to give of your time and expertise on the leadership team. Please let your existing president know if you are available to step up.

An increasing number of members are joining or renewing their membership under the new finance facility offered by BNI. BNI's objective is to give people a push start and the finance package, along with the Entrepreneur Support Programme, are just two ways we add extra value over and above BNI's core offerings of referrals and mentoring.

Finally, its almost time for our event-coordinator/hospice champion position to move to the next stage. We are waiting for the last half a dozen or so chapters to appoint their co-ordinators. Once this is done, we will pass their name and contact details on to their local hospice so that the relationship development can get underway.

I acknowledge and appreciate the fact that very many of our chapters are already close to their local hospice and running their own fundraising events already. The co-ordinator is there to facilitate more effective networking through hospice fundraising activities, joint chapter meetings and other activities designed to bring members, chapters and the community together. Please give them your support.

Best wishes

Graham Southwell

Give your chapter a web presence and promote yourself

Have you activated your own, automatically updated search engine optimised chapter websites yet?

Features include:

        The ability to promote yourself and your business on the world wide web for free;

        The ability to design your own chapter site using either a standard template or your own design;

        Automatic updating when members come or go;

        Access to automatic information such as speaker rosters, featured speakers, lists of prospective new member categories that you would like to hear from, and an events diary.

The websites are optimised for search engines and so will provide a more direct path to searchers while helping the search engine friendliness of the central BNI website.

Judi Ball-Guymer Florist, by Royal Appointment

Aucklands Upper Harbour Chapter member Judi Ball-Guymer, of Starz Floral Stylists, thought she was getting a wind up from somebody when a telephone call raised the possibility of her doing the flowers for the Coronation of the new King of the Kingdom of Tonga, George Tupou V.

But it was not a wind up and it also was not long before Judi found herself having coffee with Princess Nanasi Pau'u at St Lukes in West Auckland.

Being a local florist probably helped make the connection, but my work had also been seen by either the Princess or contacts of hers at the Ellerslie Flower Show. Princess Pau'u showed me plans of the Church and what they wanted; I submitted my quote and it was accepted.

So far, so good... but then bureaucratic red tape arrived to give Judi some pre-coronation headaches.

"I wanted to use orchids but was not allowed to because vanilla bean crops are a major crop in Tonga, and they are a type of orchid. That was understandable, but when MAF told me my flowers had to be dipped and sprayed, I was horrified."

Pictured: Judi Ball-Guymer prepares the church ahead of the King's Coronation

Judi had to work with specific colours. Tongas national red and white, gold for the throne and purple for royalty. The floral arrangement included five pedestals, a garden of flowers on the 22 metre long altar rail and an arrangement in the royal box. Judi used anthuriums, oriental lilies, chrysanthemums and foliage.

"When I was met at the airport it was 26 degrees and by then the flowers had been out of water for three days. Fortunately they stood up very well and it was not long before we had a chain gang of men carrying buckets of water across from the Royal Chaplains house which had the only tap to the church. I was also helped by a group of local ladies who were just wonderful to work with," says Judi.

During breaks Judi sat on a chair under a tree with the local women while a young girl fanned her. Another surprise was receiving several invitations to all the official functions, including the Coronation itself, lunch at the Palace; the official ball that evening, lunches and the military parade.

I did not expect to attend any functions so I had to quickly adapt some of my clothes. For example, the dress code for the ball was white tie and tiaras. I do not normally travel with one of those

NZBusiness magazine special offer to members

A special partnership agreement between BNI New Zealand and national business magazine, NZBusiness the authority for small and medium business means that over the next year, BNI Presidents and Education Co-ordinators will receive a free subscription to the magazine for the duration of their term.

NZ Business Special Subscription offer for BNI members - $49 for one year (11 issues) - save 39%! To subscribe, click here.

Marguerite wins finalist status in Manukau Business Excellence Awards

Vice President of Manukau Chapter and 22-year-old owner of the The Renaissance School of Dance, Marguerite Howlett, has been selected as a finalist in two categories in the Manukau Business Excellence Awards.

1. Excellence in Emerging Business (5 finalists);

2. Manukau City Councils Young Business Person of Year (2 finalists). This is the first time this category has been included in the awards.

Marguerite was also a recipient of the BNI Entrepreneurs Support Programme (ESP Programme) and has been contacted to have an article written on her in the NZBusiness Magazine.

For more information, visit Bizawards.

Having danced since she was two-years-old, Marguerite knows all there is to know about dance, but it was BNI that she says has made her more business minded.

"I almost wanted to do lessons for free when I started my business," says Marguerite. "But today I am a lot more confident in speaking to people and also assertive about building my business. My students have increased and I have grown in business skills, including learning ways to promote my business better."

Rachel races for gold of a different sort

On the 11th October at 7pm Fitness Trans4mations director and personal trainer, Rachel Marks, will attempt to ride for 24 hours non-stop on a spin bike to raise $20,000 dollars in sponsorship for the New Zealand Breast Cancer Foundation and a guide bike for Genevieve McLachlan, who has a disability and a vision impairment.

Business Boosters Upper Hutt member, Rachel says LA Fitness has provided four bikes for the challenge. One of which is to be used by Rachel for the 24 hour challenge and the three others to be ridden in relay style by others wishing to support Rachel and these worthwhile causes. The challenge will take place at LA Fitness's showrooms on the Hutt Road in Lower Hutt.

You can help by sponsoring Rachel or if you could contribute in anyway by providing catering, promotional goods or prizes for those taking part-any suggestions for help will be much appreciated.

"We are also looking for volunteers to cycle parts of the challenge. This is for a great cause and a chance for everyone to give back to the community and get fit at the same time."

You can find more information on our web site

Graeme Hawkins wins Master Plumber of the Year

Wellington Gateway Chapter member, Graeme Hawkins, recently won the prestigious Master Plumber of the Year title.

A former wrestler who represented New Zealand in the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games and World Champs, Graeme started the business in 1985 for flexibility around his sporting commitments.

Today he employs nine tradesmen and three office staff.

Pictured: Graeme Hawkins

A fee, proven track record and commitment make BNI an obvious choice

After eighteen months on a waiting list to get into a BNI chapter Brendon Ojala of Velocity Financial teamed up with property manager Chris Wheatley to start their own chapter and BNI Capital Connections was born.

"People in my firm are members of BNI and a lot of our external referrals come via BNI, but being a mortgage broker makes it hard to get into an existing chapter. We started meeting informally with our contacts for six or seven weeks until we got membership to 15."

"At that stage it's always a temptation to think about going it on our own, but BNI has a proven and well tested structure that can hold a group of people together. The reputation of BNI makes it easier to attract other people to the chapter, and this coupled to the fact that BNI has a fee and a commitment, makes it easier to recruit new members," says Brendon.

So much so, the chapter had more than 50 people at the launch.

Brendon says that while the chapter currently has a strong property focus, the leadership team is looking to widen membership and still needs a solicitor, web designer and recruitment agent, among others.

If you know of any potential members you may wish to refer, please email or

96th chapter launched in Nelson

The Richmond Chapter of BNI recently became the 96th chapter launched in New Zealand.

BNI regional director, Sarah Sangster, says that all things being equal they will also be launching a lunchtime chapter in Nelson in the next few weeks.

President Lorien Goedhart leads the new chapter which is actively looking for new members. If you know of any potential members you may wish to refer, please email

If you always do what you have always done

By Hazel M Walker - BNI Indiana

If you keep doing the same thing over and over what do you get? The same exact thing that you have always got. So take a look at your BNI membership, how is it working for you?  Are you doing the same thing over and over?  Does it look like this?

Get to the meeting right on time and continue.