The Richest Men in New Zealand


Though one of the relatively newer countries of the world, New Zealand already has a strong economy. This is in large part due to foreign investment which has been steadily moving to this country promising highly skilled work force and still-new agricultural and tourism prospects. Here are the top names among the men on New Zealand’s rich list which also includes foreign-born investors since the trend "reflect the globalization of wealth", according to Nevil Gibson1, the editor in chief of National Business Review which compiled the 2012 Rich List of New Zealand.

  1. Graeme Hart

    The fist name on the list of New Zealand’s wealthiest men is Graeme Hart with a net worth of $5.7 billion2. The source of Hart’s fortune is the packaging company, Rank Group which he founded when still an MBA student at the University of Otago, New Zealand. As Hart’s packaging empire grew, he included included Australasian forest products group Carter Holt Harvey, Swiss packager SIG, Alcoa's former packaging unit, Reynolds Consumer Products and Closure Systems International. In 2010, Hart also bought America's Pactiv, maker of Hefty garbage bags for around $4.4 billion. Among Hart’s most recent acquisitions has been Graham Packaging, which makes plastic bottles for customers such as Pepsico and Heinz, for an estimated $1.7 billion in the summer.

    The 57 year old self-made billionaire is married and has two children. Hart lives in Auckland and is believed to a boating enthusiast. Apart from owning a 190-foot yacht Ulysses, which is reportedly on sale, Hart is working on his new prize, the super yacht Weta.

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  2. Alexander Abramov

    With a net worth of $5.4 billion according to Forbes as of March 20122, Alexander Abramov is the next richest man in New Zealand even though he may not an original citizen. His inclusion in New Zealand’s NBR Rich List is mainly on the basis of $40 million luxury waterfront home that the minerals and steel magnate is building in the Bay of Islands.

    Of Russian origin, Abramov is a former scientist who became an industrial magnate as head of Evraz Holding, Russia's largest steel producer. Abramov was first noticed as a global player when in the aftermath of the 1998 Russian financial crisis, when he bought up stricken steel companies and coal mines on the cheap. In 2006, he partnered with fellow billionaire Roman Abramovich in Evraz. In 2007, they made a number of acquisitions, including U.S. firms Claymont Steel Holdings of Delaware and Oregon Steel Mills. In recent years Evraz-Holding has emerged as one of the most aggressive vertically integrated business groups in Russia. Its assets include three large steel mills, three coalmines and several ore-enriching plants, as well as a large commercial port, Nakhodka, in the east of the country.
  3. Richard Chandler

    Though no longer living in New Zealand, Richard Chandler is the next wealthiest guy from the country with a net worth of $2.9 billion, as of March 2012. Investment baron, Chandler runs Richard Chandler Corp., fund aimed at emerging markets that he founded after splitting with billionaire brother Christopher. In June 2012 he raised his stake in Papua New Guinea oil and gas company interoil. Last year he invested in Canada-listed Chinese timber company Sino-Forest and become its single largest shareholder. With the move Chandler intended to take advantage of sinking shares of the forestry firm due to allegations that it had overstated timber holdings; however since them the company has sought bankruptcy court protection and been delisted from the Toronto Stock Exchange.

    The investment style of Richard Chandler has been described as deep value investing, primarily in global emerging markets and especially in distress situations. The 53 year old billionaire is single and lives in Singapore where according to Forbes3, he ranks fifth among the island state’s 40 top richest people.

  4. Christopher Chandler

    Younger brother Christopher Chandler is another of New Zealand’s top richest men with a net worth of $1 billion. The Chandler brothers had founded the Sovereign group of companies which from 1986 to 2006 invested in companies and governments in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe, and in industries including telecommunications, electric utilities, steel, oil and gas, banking and oil refining. After splitting from his brother in 2006, Christopher Chandler now heads heads Legatum Capital, a private multibillion dollar investment firm that focuses on the world's capital markets. Based in Dubai, Legatum under the direction of Christopher has focused on socially sustainable enterprises such as microfinance. More recently, Legatum Capital has been supportive of entrepreneurship initiatives in Africa, leading the Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship. Apart from these the investment firm has also seeded the $100 million END fund, which focuses on the eradication of tropical diseases in Sub-Saharan Africa. Not much is known about the personal life of 52 year old Christopher who prefers to keep a low profile and avoid the media.
  5. Julian Robertson

    Though the 80 year old self-made billionaire was born in North Carolina and continues to be an American citizen, Julian Robertson was included in NBR’s New Zealand’s Rich List on account of several investments he has made in the country. A self-confessed fan of New Zealand, Robertson owns a winery and three golf resorts here apart from donating a collection of art to the Auckland Art Gallery. For his contributions, Robertson even had a knighthood conferred on him by New Zealand in 2011.

    Once nicknamed the "Wizard of Wall Street", Robertson founded his legendary hedge fund, Tiger Management. After selling it off in 2000, he became a pioneer in seeding and mentoring handpicked hedge funds, known as Tiger Cubs. He has seeded over 40 funds and founded the Tiger Accelerator Fund, a $450 million fund of funds that is open to outside investors and invests exclusively in a group of six Tiger-seeded hedge funds. Robertson is also responsible for setting up the Robertson Foundation which has more than $1 billion in assets and focuses its work in four areas: education, the environment, medical research and religion and spirituality.


  1. Onenews - Foreigners make debut on Rich List
  2. Forbes - Alexander Abramov
  3. Forbes - Richard Chandler