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BoosterFebruary 22, 20238 min read

Booster Members Day – A very Kiwi VIP experience

After a year-long hiatus (you guessed it – pandemic-related!),  the highly anticipated Booster Members Days were back with a vengeance.

Booster members were invited to three Members Days held across the country – at companies, which Booster invests in: Dodson Motorsport on the North Shore, Sileni Estates in Hawke’s Bay and Gravity Winery in Nelson. 


Not only were they treated to drinks, nibbles and lunch, but also behind-the-scenes tours. Giving them a closer look at how some of their savings through our KiwiSaver and/or investment funds (depending on their fund selection) are invested in, innovative Kiwi businesses, making an impact, both here and on the world stage.

They were also able to see how their investments enable these businesses to continue to flourish and expand, creating jobs and keeping profits local.

We chatted with Booster’s Diana Papadopoulos, Chief Customer Officer, and Dave Copson, Head of Growth, who both presented at the events, and heard why they think you will want to be on the invite list for next year’s Booster Members Days.


How did this year’s Members Days go? 

Di: They were absolutely fantastic! At each Members Day event, the Booster members were super excited to make that connection between the investments in their KiwiSaver accounts and the actual companies on the ground within New Zealand doing really exciting, innovative stuff – both here and on the international stage.

In Auckland, at the Dodson Motorsport event, they were amazed by how much of a difference such investments had made on the business. Dave Sweas, Dodson CEO  showed them around the new premises, including the new plant and machinery they’d invested in to grow operations, and spoke about the increased production and bigger team they’d acquired as a result of that.

So, it was really cool for our members to see the impact of their investments. They could see it allowed these local businesses to stay local. And on top of that, these businesses are growing, and investors are receiving returns based on that growth – it’s a really cool cycle for them to see for themselves.


Do you think many of the Booster members who attended had previously made the connection between their Booster investments supporting Kiwi businesses? 

Di: Once we started telling the story about the relationship between Booster, their investments and the businesses, they were like, “Wow this is amazing!”. And then when I explained that Booster does this with companies all over New Zealand, they were like, “WOW, this is so cool!”.

We consistently heard a lot of comments along the lines of, “It’s so fantastic to be able to see what’s going on behind the scenes of my KiwiSaver”.

It was really awesome to see them make the connection and see how excited they were when they realised that they were growing Kiwi businesses as they’re growing their savings.




So, it was a real opportunity to connect the investment dots, as well as showcase the businesses?

Di: Absolutely. Booster members were very impressed – and surprised – by the high levels of innovation taking place in their own backyards. A lot of: “I can’t believe this kind of business – creating world-leading innovation, solutions, technology – exists in New Zealand”. For example, Dodson on the North Shore of Auckland – to look at the facilities, it’s pretty unassuming.

But then you pull up its roller door and there’s this massive, high-tech manufacturing facility just sitting there behind it! And it’s feeding into the high-performance automotive industry on the global stage. This is a local company whose high-performance car parts have been used by racing teams around the world in setting more than 30 world records. People were really surprised by that.

Dave: Yeah, at the Gravity Winery event, people were very interested in the concept of using gravity-flow to achieve a softer and less obtrusive winemaking process. They were able to really engage with the winemakers, not only about the process, but the story behind how the business works with Booster.

We knew we were really appealing to our investors when we consistently had them telling us that, off the back of these experiences, they wanted to recommend Booster to their friends and family, because of the strategy behind our local investment.

It was enlightening to hear people say they’d send people our way and tell them they’d have a little bit of (indirect) ownership in businesses like Gravity by investing through Booster.






What part of the New Zealand investment story really resonated with Booster members?

Di: In Hawke’s Bay, people were really pleased to hear that Sileni Estates was able to stay under Kiwi ownership due to investment through Booster, because, of course, there’s not a lot of local wine success stories where that has happened.

Usually, to grow and move onto the world stage, local companies must sell and get gobbled up by international conglomerates. So, for Hawke’s Bay locals, it was really nice for them to know that one of the reasons Sileni has remained in Kiwi ownership, was because they were a part of making that possible.

Also, people said they really loved getting behind the scenes and seeing how these businesses actually worked. Having the opportunity to talk to the winemakers, one on one, and get an understanding of all the nuts and bolts – it was a step above your usual wine tasting experience!

Dave: The events demonstrate that members’ money is, in part, invested in locally- owned and operated Kiwi business. Investors don’t always have the opportunity to invest in unlisted Kiwi businesses outside of the Kiwi-centric investment funds we offer at Booster. Yes, you can go out and invest in these businesses directly, but it can be difficult to get into. You often have to have a lot of money, and there can be’s a lot of restrictions around investing and withdrawing funds.

Our investment funds give Kiwis access to investments in growing Kiwi businesses that benefits them – they don’t need to have shares in it, and their money is not locked up in these funds. This is one of the only ways for a lot of Kiwis to access this sort of investment.

Many didn’t realise that this aspect of strategic Kiwi investment was part of our fund offerings and were interested in finding out more. They loved the concept of keeping businesses Kiwi-owned, and that they had some ownership. And from that, we were also able to tell them about our New Zealand centric funds the Private Land and Property Fund (PLPF) and the Booster Innovation Fund (BIF).


What do you think was the biggest takeaway for the Booster members who attended the Members Days?

Dave: That their savings are invested in successful Kiwi businesses with a future, and such investment helps to keep the best parts of Kiwi businesses here in New Zealand, whilst enabling them to grow at the same time. We’re trying to be a bit more proactive with our members’ investments without taking too much risk.

Many members were also really pleased to learn that when we partner with these businesses, instead of taking them over or running them. Good people with expertise and know-how are part of the business, we need them to be part of it. That’s how they became good businesses! You often see on-the-ground, local industry knowledge lost when businesses are sold or need further capital to grow. And often, that can lead to losing what made it so successful and special to begin with.

So, Booster will help with capital, but the people who have always run it are still running it, they’re still in control. That’s what’s made these investments in these companies so successful up to this point.


Why aren’t more KiwiSaver providers offering these sorts of investments?

Di: Well, it is hard work! We have a dedicated team of people whose job it is to find these kinds of businesses. They’ll spend up to two years getting to know these companies before we partner with them. The number of companies we actually end up partnering with is very tiny compared to the number we meet with. So, it’s really a case of active ownership – we’re going out and picking the best of the best from what we can see.

This is a fairly unique approach for a KiwiSaver provider. There aren’t really any other KiwiSaver providers doing this with the same intensity and at this scale. So, we’re very pleased to be leading the way with this investment approach, and by the feedback we received from the Booster members who joined us on the Members Day, they are very heartened by that approach too.


What would you say to someone who had the opportunity to go to Booster Members Day next year? Why should they attend?

Dave: Absolutely! With Booster members coming along and seeing these businesses and how they work on the ground, how they’ve been able to execute their innovation and grow, our investors get a better understanding of what Booster is doing with their savings and why.

It was fantastic to be able to say to them, “You’re a part of this!”. And the people I spoke to were very appreciative of the experience and opportunity to learn so much from it. They could clearly see the investment cycle and how it works.

Di: [Laughs] Well, aside from getting a free wine tasing, drinks and good food! You’ll learn about some amazing things that are happening that you are a part of supporting, and there’s a good chance they’re going on in your neighbourhood.

People are realising that with Booster their investments are helping to keep jobs, profits and businesses here in New Zealand – that they are contributing to the growth of these companies on the world stage, whilst keeping it Kiwi.

It’s really exciting to be part of that story. That’s a really powerful thing.



We're Booster. We’ve been looking after New Zealanders’ money since 1998. We’re proudly Kiwi owned and operated and here to help you make sense of money.

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