For the first time, The NBR Rich List 2012 has introduced an international section to reflect the globalisation of wealth.
These new members have invested parts of the their fortunes in New Zealand or have substantial assets that give them residency rights.
The assets are both for business and pleasure.
To these we have added some of the richer New Zealand-born expatriates, who have created billion-dollar fortunes overseas and do not have this country as their primary residence.
The new Russia has created a class of super-rich oligarchs and a number have visited New Zealand to end up investing here.
By far the richest is minerals and steel mogul Alexander Abramov, who is building a $40 million luxurious holiday home on a waterfront property in the Bay of Islands.
Another rich Russian, Mikhail Kumich, has bought the Waiwera water and thermal springs resort and has based his superyacht Thalia here.
Much better known are Americans Julian Robertson, who has made New Zealand his second home and generously donated part of his impressive art collection to the Auckland Art Gallery, and Bill Foley, who is adding New Zealand wineries to his already extensive Californian vineyards.
Another high-profile Hollywood blockbuster film director and producer James Cameron, has become a neighbour of Mr Foley’s in the Wairarapa and has bought adjoining farms there.
He is heavily involved with Wellington’s film industry, where special effects for his record-breaking film Avatar were created at Weta Digital.
Mr Cameron is working on sequels to Avatar and is committed to making New Zealand a long-term base.
After being one of the driving forces behind the growth of the South Island dairy industry and an investor in the racing industry, Eamon Cleary’s focus has shifted away from New Zealand.
Another big investor in racing is the Dowager Duchess of Bedford, whose family has extensive New Zealand interests and spends most of her time here.
While they are not on the NBR Rich List, billionaires on other countries’ lists are showing a strong interest in New Zealand assets.
The world’s richest woman, Gina Rinehart, who inherited her father’s multibillion-dollar iron ore business in Western Australia, owns a number of downtown Auckland properties, including the historic Ferry Building and other Queen St landmarks.
Internet entrepreneur Peter Thiel, who built the Paypal empire and was an initial shareholder in Facebook, has bought shareholdings in some Kiwi IT businesses and is a keen admirer of like-minded entrepreneurs here.
The scandal-hit Rausing family, who inherited the Tetra-Pak packaging empire, are the largest foreign owners of New Zealand pastoral farmland through their global Ingleby company.
It runs several large sheep and beef stations covering a total 20,000ha in the Gisborne area, as well as property in South Canterbury.
These are overseen by Lisbet Rausing, sister of Hans, whose wife Eva was found dead from an apparent drug overdose at their London home earlier this month.
Their grandfather Reuben founded the business in Sweden and the family was ranked 12th richest in the Sunday Times Rich List at £5.4 billion.
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