NBR RICH LIST 2016: Wealth creation booms with new record

Outside of the dairy sector, it has been another great year for the country's rich. PLUS: The biggest gainers and losers. With special feature audio.

Outside of the dairy sector, it has been another great year for the country’s rich.

The National Business Review 2016 Rich List provides an insight into how the super wealthy made their fortune, how they spend it and, in increasing cases, how they gift it.

This year marks a special occasion in that it’s the 30-year anniversary of the first Rich List published in New Zealand.

In 1986 the Rich List first appeared featuring 56 individuals and 12 families with a combined minimum net worth of $5.3 billion.

One year later the sharemarket crashed and the list was essentially cut in half.

Fast forward to today – a couple of financial crisis later – and it’s boom time yet again.

The combined valuation of homegrown Rich Listers has increased by $4.6 billion over the past year to $59.6 billion.

That includes 13 newcomers with combined new wealth totalling $1.61 billion.

Add in the four New Zealand-based international billionaires and the total figure swells to $73.12 billion.

The various newcomers reflect the way New Zealand society is changing, with a mix of ethnic backgrounds represented.

Danny Chan, a third-generation New Zealander, made a fortune in education services, Charlie Zheng in property and hospitality and Mark Ching in shipping.

Peter Kraus’ family interests blossomed through a stake in NZX-listed Ebos Group [NZX: EBO]. Barry and Diane Rissetto own vast property holdings including Fonterra’s biggest storage warehouse.

Eyal Aharoni, a former Israeli army major, arrived in New Zealand in 1988 and turned his attention to property investment.

Charles Shadbolt and Kypros Kotzikas are two Christchurch-based fishing tycoons. Geoff Ross has been on the NBR Rich List radar since the days of 42 Below and now he’s elevated to the real thing, thanks to his shares in Trilogy. Hartley Atkinson is also benefiting from the sharemarket, with his 75% stake in the newly listed AFT Pharmaceuticals worth more than $200 million.

Greg Tomlinson, a 10% shareholder in Heartland Bank, may be a newcomer but he is really a latecomer given he should have been on the list well before now.

Ben Cook is the youngest new entrant – the 40-year-old presiding over a property portfolio worth more than $120 million.

And Neal and Annette Plowman return to the Rich List while also featuring prominently in our new Philanthropy section - The business of giving: how NBR Rich Listers are helping out.

Meanwhile, four names from last year no longer appear, with the deaths of Neil Graham and Kerry Hoggard while Sir Neville Jordan and Kenneth Millar no longer qualify as their wealth slipped under the $50 million threshold.

There have been some big moves in values, both up and down, with the latter mainly in the dairy industry.

But as we have seen before in times of crisis (see our 30-year anniversary feature) future generations of wealth makers often bounce back from adversity while new riches can be found in other sectors. 

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For full Rich List 2016 coverage, visit the NBR Rich List 2016 home page here. For full Rich List access, get a 30-day free trial to NBR here.

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