Property investor in a class of his own - Michael Burge '06

Date: 26 Jun 2024

Over the years, many remarkable young men have attended Dilworth School. Men who have gone on to achieve some extraordinary things, each telling their own unique story of triumph and perseverance. Among these men stands Michael Burge, class of 2006. His story is one of determination and success.

Man in his 30s standing with his hand on a weight in a gym.

Michael's journey through Dilworth, alongside his twin brother Andrew, began in 1998. They navigated school life without the guidance of their father, who was absent and passed away when they were just six years old.

From the outset, Michael was driven by an unparalleled commitment to excellence in sports. Whether it was Rugby, Cricket, Swimming or Wrestling, he gave his all, setting his sights on tough goals with unwavering focus. His aspiration to excel in sports led him to rise before dawn, dedicating himself to rigorous training sessions to pursue his dream of becoming a professional athlete. Not surprisingly, his name can be found on multiple trophies in the Sports Centre.

However, Michael's journey took an unexpected path after leaving Dilworth's green gates. After a short stint at university for four days, he quickly realised that the traditional academic pathway was not his calling. Instead, he sought a faster and more affordable route to success, embarking on a six-month course that ignited his passion for the fitness industry.

Over the next 12 years, Michael immersed himself in the world of fitness, achieving remarkable success in Powerlifting. His relentless pursuit of excellence propelled him to the pinnacle of his field, where he represented New Zealand at the 2009 World Championships after only one year of competing. He also competed in Bodybuilding at the National level and built a successful business delivering strength & conditioning to lower-decile high schools in Auckland.

In 2016, Michael's journey took a detour. He decided to learn about real estate investing by watching videos on YouTube. Fuelled by a thirst for knowledge and a desire for a systematic approach to success, he acquired his first property in May 2018. His perseverance and strategic approach paid off, propelling him to acquire five properties in 18 months and a further ten properties during the Covid period. He says much of his success came from what he'd learnt and loved at Dilworth about structure and being able to channel his hyper-focused nature to achieve his goals.

Michael is now a respected investor in the real estate community. A simple Google search of his name will bring up many articles about him and his achievements. His business, Straight Up Property Investing LTD, has been helping hundreds of New Zealanders build their portfolios through education and coaching, including many Dilworth Old Boys.

As his success in real estate flourished, Michael came across an opportunity to give back to Dilworth. In 2023, he donated money to the Dilworth Weightlifting team to pay for their uniforms, which the students wore at the Auckland Championships. Having competed in powerlifting and spent so much time in the weights room over his years at the school, Michael found this the perfect opportunity to give back.

Michael's initial drive was to retire at 30. However, at 35, he doesn't feel like retiring, as he loves what he's doing. Going forward, he believes there is a lot of opportunity. He recently purchased two more properties, bringing his total to 19 in just six years.

What you might find interesting is that even though he holds an impressive portfolio, he doesn’t own the house he lives in. For him, he sees things differently. His goal is to have freedom built from wealth coming from cash-flowing assets. A very different approach that goes against the typical societal norms. He says, “Thinking outside the box and taking a different route to my goals has aided me in getting to where I am today.”

Michael mentioned several Dilworth staff members, saying they were pivotal in enabling him to channel his hyper-focused nature towards productive things. Ally Patterson, Jason Vuletich, and August Williams, to name a few, each played a crucial role, which Michael says he began to realise more and more after leaving the school.

 

Now, as he reflects on his life journey so far, he sees Dilworth not just as a school but as the key element that forged his character and gave him the ability to reach his potential.

“It was a really good thing I came to Dilworth; it heightened my potential. I'm not sure where I would be today without the experience it gave me... I would like to use my position to do some good and find ways I can continue to give back to the school”.

The three things he took away from his time at Dilworth:

  1. The lesson of using structure in life to achieve great success,
  2. The intensity of the experience, whereby Dilworth showed hard work, could make everything possible.
  3. Developing self-confidence allowed him to focus on being a calculated and successful risk-taker.

 

Michael Burge, Class of 2006, is a man who is a shining example of resilience and determination in action. He has used what he sees as the transformative power of his Dilworth experience and has the desire to pay it forward. He seeks to inspire students to defy societal expectations and pursue their passions with purpose and excellence.

As we celebrate his nearly 20 years since leaving Dilworth, we are reminded that true success lies not just in personal achievements but also in the impact we make on others and the legacy we leave behind.