Our Story

“We believe you can thrive if you take moments to put yourself first – Moments to recharge, reconnect and refocus.”

CHI in Riverhead Auckland, NZ

Founding History

In the mid 1980’s our founder, Gary Furniss, was a man on a mission – to bring nature into what we ate and drank. At a time when beverages like bottled water, squeezed juice, energy drink, plant milk and kombucha were futuristic ideas, he had a vision of a sparkling beverage with natural ingredients that could be a healthier alternative to the heavily sugared and artificially coloured and flavoured soft drinks of the time.

His work led to him to a sparkling drink based on an ancient Chinese medicinal blend. He developed and launched the Original Sparkling Herbal Blend first to New Zealand in 1987 and then to Australia in 1988. CH’I Drinks have built from this revolution over 30 years ago.

CHI Drinks | Original bottles 1987
Our bottles and labels from 1987 to 2010

"The Drink That Knows its Own Name"

Press play for a bit of a giggle about how cheesy our first advert was…

In 1987 this low budget commercial gathered a cult following to the phrase “CH’I… the drink that knows its own name”. While we may look a bit different now, we still offer the same rejuvenation of real herbs in sparkling water. 

Recent History - The CH'I Herbal Drinks Co.

In 2020 the world was shocked by the Covid19 pandemic. Like you, we faced a period in our lives where everything became uncertain. It was the time to rethink what we stood for and valued.

We took a hard look at ourselves and recognised and embraced some truths that are now guiding us into the 2020’s………

It's all about Women

While we do have a wide range of people enjoying our natural herbal drinks, the people drinking them most are Women.

Our connections help us thrive

Women who drink CH’I tend to be busy with family, friends, causes, challenges, and commitments. They have generous souls and risk spreading themselves a bit thin. They may struggle with the choice and the opportunity to put themselves first. But if they do take a moment to put themselves first and reconnect with the things, people and places that make them better at being themselves their energy and spirits are rejuvenated and their “Ch’i” flows freely again.  As one of our wise women said, ‘you can’t serve from an empty vessel’.

Our guys were making every sincere effort to do the right stuff. Out of respect for their effort we won’t show their faces.

Our guys were getting it wrong

When we worked out our ‘who’ and ‘why‘, it made us rethink our ‘how’. We were relying on a team of 4 men to make decisions about what we offered and how we communicated to predominantly women customers- and it was rare that they got things right.

Asking Women to take the lead

In 2022 we have committed to our grown-up Women customers and refocused on what we do best with a new identity as The CH’I Herbal Drinks Co.

Our Promises to you…

CHI Drinks | opening recyclable cans

Drinks for the moments you put yourself first

In those rare moments you've put yourself first - connecting with the people, things and places that make you a better you - our drinks offer a small celebration of natural herbal goodness.

CHI Drinks | Handcrafting herbal ingredients in New Zealand

Handcrafting Natural Herbal Ingredients

We have renewed our commitment to the use of pure water and natural ingredients in all of our products – we leave out the nasties and focus on the "nicies".

CHI Drinks | 100% recyclable 250ml cans

Packaging to serve you and your environment

Our packaging now offers "just right" sizes with single portion recyclable cans joining the CH'I family in 2022.

CHI minimal packaging 2022

Less demand for mental energy

CH'I's labels have been de-cluttered and convey the information needed to understand our products simply and easily. No "blah - blah" about stuff that doesn't matter to you.

CHI Drinks | Women taking the lead at CHI NZ

Women as our lead

The decision-making committee of 4 men is no longer in charge. Women are now at the heart of decision making regarding drinks ideas, packaging and our messages. We decided our team needs to be immersed in women energy if we want to energise women customers.

A flow of exciting new drinks ideas

Future new herbal drinks ideas will capture and build on the concept of CH’I – the essential breath of life -because it's an idea as relevant today as it was centuries ago.

Learn more about our herbal drinks

Our new Mission

Making herbal sparkling drinks to celebrate the moments you put yourself first with the people, places, and things that make you better at being you…

The values guiding us...

Meet our People

CHI Drinks | Distribution Manager

Olivia - Distribution & Digital

Olivia is a recent graduate with a degree in Communications. She is the queen of multi tasking, managing both our warehouse and leading our social media and digital communications.

Yejin - Technical & Production

Yejin is responsible for developing our new products, making our herbal extracts and working with our partners who bottle and can our finished products.

Ray - Owner

Ray started his working journey as a professional sheep shearer and moved into the world of food and beverages as a fresh graduate. He discovered a passion for the CH'I brand and its possibilities working in a major drinks company in the late 1990's.

Suze - Finance

Suze is officially our finance person keeping the books straight, but unofficially she is the wise guide who has steered us to our closer care and consideration of the needs of Adult Women.

Murray - Sales

Murray works with our Distribution partners in New Zealand and helps us get our drinks into the right places for you to buy them.

Dayna - Technical Consultant

With a pHd in herbal extractions Dr Dayna McCormick is well qualified to guide our quality and compliance with safe standards.

Expert advisors

Rockit Design

Packaging & Creative

AJ Park Auckland

Intellectual property legal

Local Connections Matter

We admire grassroots community groups that take the initiative and work to create and strengthen connections in their community and enrich the lives of others. We do our best to support their projects, events and fundraising with donations of our products for sale, raffles, competitions, or goody bags. This support is available to grassroots Community groups in New Zealand.