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And Now We Are Five! - Business Network Int'l

And Now We Are Five!

11th March, 2004
Media Release


Last night, BNI Business Network Int'l, celebrated its fifth birthday with a dinner at the Auckland Club attended by over 120 representatives of leadership teams throughout the Auckland region. The keynote address was given by Dr Morgan McArthur, a world champion Toastmaster speaker.

BNI is the world's largest business and professional networking organisation that offers members the opportunity to share ideas and contacts, and to exchange referrals.

The first New Zealand chapter was established five years ago in Takapuna. Since then, a quiet revolution has been taking place and now New Zealand boasts 52 chapters with over 1200 members. Thirty-three of the chapters are in the Auckland region.

At the dinner, it was also announced that the BNI membership had contributed over $11,000 to the Red Cross for the flood relief fund.

"Word of Mouth" continues to be the most cost effective form of advertising says Graham Southwell, National Director of BNI.

"One of the things which makes BNI unique, is that it only allows one person from each trade or profession to join a chapter, which means your competitors cannot join and any conflict in passing referrals is avoided

Almost any trade or profession can benefit from membership of BNI with occupations ranging from mortgage brokers to funeral directors, and from florists to accountants.

One of the foundation members, Rusty Brooke a printer from Takapuna, said over the years he had received some excellent referrals, one of which resulted in a print job of $27,000. He had also given some good referrals to fellow members.

Rusty added: "I have met some pretty good people through BNI and people that I will always want to be associated with."

Wellington insurance specialist and North City Chapter President, Mike Green said that BNI membership had contributed positively to his company's bottom line with a return of over 800% on his investment in membership.

President of the Tauranga Chapter and real estate agent, Dickie Burman, commented that BNI had become a very important part of his personal marketing, plus a great way to receive business leads and ultimately make money.

Graham Southwell explained that every chapter member carries your business card in a special wallet and is constantly seeking opportunities for fellow members," said Mr Southwell.

He said BNI's philosophy is "Givers Gain". That is, if I give you referrals, you will give me referrals and we will do better as a result.

"Our mission is to teach business professionals that the word of mouth process is more about farming than it is about hunting: it's about the cultivation of professional relationships for the mutual benefit of all."

"New groups are being formed all the time to meet demand and already there is a waiting list of business people anxious to join a BNI Chapter as soon as a position becomes available."

He added that success in a BNI group is in the hands of each member. They can get as much out of it as they put in. The added bonus is the group of motivated people encouraging individual members to achieve greater things, both personally and in business.

Detailed information about BNI can be found on its website -


BNI is a business and professional referral organisation whose primary purpose is to exchange qualified business referrals and develop word of mouth marketing techniques.

It has become the world's largest business referral organisation of its kind.

In New Zealand, there are over 52 Chapters in Auckland, Whangarei, Hamilton, Bay of Plenty, Rotorua, Wellington, Christchurch and Timaru, with over 1200 members.

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