Business Network International's four Whangarei chapters got together this month to raise funds in support of Hospice.

The event was held at The Orchard Business and Event Hub on August 19 with a "Recycled Summer" theme suggesting attendees wear items of summer clothing purchased from the North Haven Hospice Shop

BNI Northland director Bill Raynel said there was plenty of laughter amidst the festive atmosphere. There was also serious competition as each of the four chapters strove to win the six challenges they were set, including a quiz contest.

A total of $1042 was raised.

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The evening was DJ-ed by Jono Reeves (a BNI member) from Going Bananas.
All four chapters in Whangarei were represented, and Dean Fairfield (Spray & Relax) from the Bay of Islands chapter also attended.

The panel of judges were Whangarei Deputy Mayor Sharon Morgan, Karen Sandoy, and Bill Raynel.

Mr Raynel said BNI NZ aligned with Hospice NZ in 2005, and since 2007 has been a national partner funding the Hospice NZ Palliative Care Scholarship Programme.
During that period BNI nationwide has raised $1.5 million for Hospice.

BNI Whangarei during the Fear Factor challenge (from left): Pete Corney, Andrew Chuter, Helen Richie, Trent Sissons, Craig Robertson, Craig Potter, Denise Potter and Iain Buchanan.PHOTO/ BRYA PAGE
BNI Whangarei during the Fear Factor challenge (from left): Pete Corney, Andrew Chuter, Helen Richie, Trent Sissons, Craig Robertson, Craig Potter, Denise Potter and Iain Buchanan.PHOTO/ BRYA PAGE

"Business Network International's philosophy is 'Givers Gain' and we see Hospice giving to the community so this is our way of supporting and of giving something back to an organisation which is making such a difference to people and families in hospice care," he said.

"Each chapter has an events co-ordinator/hospice champion member and this event was organised over many months by those members led by Susan Cooney, and included Teresa Watkins, David Moss, Jeanine Walters, and Mark Neal."

As a business community, BNI helps create business opportunities through a structured system of referrals and reciprocity, based on trust and giving.

Business owners from all types of industries (restricted to one in each chapter) meet weekly.

They build sustainable relationships with other businesses, develop new networks and take BNI's underlying philosophy of "Givers Gain" to grow their businesses.

Joining BNI also provides the opportunity to connect with the local business community, which is especially important for those businesses relocating from outside the region.

Mr Raynel, a BNI member himself for the past nine years, said it has been incredibly rewarding and satisfying for him to watch shy, hesitant, new members join and very quickly grasp the BNI concept of helping others with their businesses first, and then seeing them benefit by way of referral business themselves.

"It's not all about business however," he said. "The lifelong friendships forged, the mutual support always evident, whether it be business or personal, and the increase in confidence and personal growth I see in members is amazing.

"Many move to leadership roles in their chapters within a relatively short time where they are also able to give back by serving their chapter for a term."