Milford has committed to a partnership with Rowing NZ. The first time the Milford brand has partnered with a sport in our 20-year history.


Attending the recent NZ Rowing Championships at  Lake Karāpiro, I had several Rowing families and Rowing NZ team members ask why has Milford aligned with Rowing NZ? It’s a fair question and one that opened great conversations around the alignment of corporate sponsor partnerships in general.

But for this partnership, there are three key areas that align strongly between Rowing NZ and Milford.

High-performance team ethos; broader engagement and acknowledgement of the supporter community; and the NZ can-do competitiveness at a global scale.

As an investment firm, Milford is a high-performance-oriented, driven team.  Without this culture, we simply cannot be successful. Regardless of the setting in which a high-performance team operates, the impacts are universal.  That constant drive, needing to improve and better the competition, never coasting or phoning it in, creates a special culture.  This high-performance ethos is well balanced at Rowing NZ with the team emphasis.  The balancing nature of needing to work together in alignment to achieve peak performance is common between Rowing NZ and Milford.

A high-performance team requires capable and talented individuals able to work extremely well with others.  In the finance industry we have all come across ‘rockstars’ – or those who may be high performance individuals but just don’t play well with others.  It’s not an ethos we have at Milford.  We simply would not be successful if those single individuals mattered more than the team.  I personally love this alignment of a high-performance team - everyone needs to be high-performing team but aligned for the team to work.

Rowing NZ presents athletes who epitomise this. Working extremely hard for hours, days, months, and years to secure those top performances.  The continued drive, focus and determination to just grind it out when conditions are difficult and keep your wits about you when conditions appear easy creates a massive alignment between the two organisations.  A talent-based organisation that emphasises the collective – an excellent balance to strike.

As amazing as the team is that is out on the water, or those managing your investment monies, they require a strong network to support them.  An extension of that team mentality, combined with the broader professional network of Rowing NZ, High Performance Sport NZ, families of the athletes themselves, and wider community support are all what makes the boat go faster.  Milford is an organisation where we always acknowledge our clients, without whom we would not be in business and the community from which we operate.  At a business level, the portfolio managers make the call on where to invest, but the wider investment team all feed into those decisions.  Likewise, the Operations, Product, Digital, Risk & Compliance and Marketing all contribute to the running and development of the business, and our client-facing teams are incredibly important, providing key service and support for our clients.

Tom Macintosh M Prem 1X Winner (1) Rowing Picture Show (1)

Milford clients watching the NZ Rowing Championships Prem Single Scull racing from the superior vantage point of the barge. The rower featured is Tom Mackintosh who is on the trajectory to represent NZ at the Paris Olympics in the Single Scull event. 

Milford is an employee-owned company – we have skin in the game, we are invested in the success of the business, and we are invested in the same funds as our clients. The alignment of business to community and the acknowledgement of the importance of that broader engagement allows for both focused successful execution and a strong aligned community where every passionate person is working to those same goals.  The sum of the parts is truly larger than the individual.

The value of this support community was what drove the need to engage in livestream support with our partnership. Rowing NZ wanted to bring the action and excitement right to the supporters, families, and coaches' via the livestream. We loved the idea of partnering with Rowing NZ to provide that and really deliver the races and the athletes to their communities and networks.

Finally, it’s no surprise to this community that rowing is one of NZ’s most successful sports on a globally competitive scale.  The sport medals more for the country than any other at the Olympic Games. Not just participating but winning against larger and better-resourced competitors is an outstanding achievement.  And it has been done consistently.

Competing with the best to drive your own craft forward is an admirable attribute.  Combining that with the NZ can-do attitude (often with much less) is where magic can happen.  This culture runs deep at Rowing NZ, and I felt an immediate affinity with it.  Milford is a NZ company.  It’s not owned by a large corporate, and although it’s grown larger since its humble beginnings 20 years ago, we maintain that NZ entrepreneurial mindset to keep us nimble and driven. We look at global best practice to ensure we are driving ourselves forward.

Ernest Rutherford once said ““We haven't got the money, so we'll have to think”. Approaching things slightly differently can provide valuable advantage when coupled with competing against the best of the best.  Despite all the reasons why not, you produce a high-performance culture that I think you can find across NZ.  That’s what I have come to understand about Rowing NZ, and that’s what I love to see over the last 14 years I have been with Milford.

The reasons for the partnership with Rowing NZ are compelling, and clearly, there is more alignment than what first may have been considered.


Milford clients enjoying the hospitality at the 2024 NZ Rowing Championships.

On a personal level, for a non-rower, being invited into the community and coming to understand the sport, the network and the professionalism that is driving it has been a real privilege.

Any partnership Milford embarks on must “feel” right.  Of course, there are commercial reasons for a partnership but by looking only through that lens you can lose out on the real gold as the affinity and engagement is what makes these things come to life.

I look forward to continuing my rowing education – keep an eye out for members of the Milford team and feel free to have a chat with us!

To celebrate the new Livestream functionality during Aon Maadi Regatta, we would like to offer the opportunity to win one of ten $500 top ups to any new Milford KiwiSaver or Investment Fund account you open with Milford during the Aon Maadi Regatta week – be it opening  an Investment Funds account or opening a new or switching your KiwiSaver account to Milford. Just open the account between March 18th and March 24th by 11.59pm and go in the draw!

Sarah Mitchell Feb 2024 2

Sarah Mitchell

Guest writer Sarah Mitchell - Milford Chief Marketing Officer 

Disclaimer: This is intended to provide general information only. It does not take into account your investment needs or personal circumstances. It is not intended to be viewed as financial advice. You should not rely on any information in this communication in making financial decisions. Before making financial decisions you may wish to seek financial advice.   Milford Funds Limited is the issuer of the Milford KiwiSaver Plan and Milford Investment Funds. Please read the relevant Milford Product Disclosure Statement at

To view the terms and conditions for the AON Maadi Regatta competition please click here