Sophie Ryan is online editor for the Business Herald

Rich List: Graeme Hart's fortune takes $2 billion slide

The richest New Zealanders are becoming more diverse, with 13 newcomers to the list coming from countries in Asia, The Middle East and Europe.

The National Business Review's 2016 Rich List, released today, features a largely unchanged top ten wealthiest people - worth a combined $24 billion.

Graeme Hart remains the richest man in New Zealand, but his wealth took a $2 billion hit this year. His wealth fell from $9 billion in 2015 to $7 billion this year, amid concern over some of his debt-heavy business, NBR reported.

Hart is far and away the richest New Zealander and despite the knock to his fortunes, he was able to launch two mega yachts - both longer than 100m in Norway this year.

See one of Hart's ships up close

Video

Investor Richard Chandler is second wealthiest, worth $4.2 billion, followed by the Todd family with oil and gas investments, $3.3 billion, the liquor magnate Erceg family, $1.6 billion, and property investor Sir Michael Friedlander, $1.5 billion.

The man behind 42 Below and Moa is featuring on the Rich List for the first time this year. Geoff Ross sold the vodka business for $138 million in 2006 and has featured on this year's Rich List thanks to the success of Trilogy International.

The skincare and candle business has had a share price increase of 340 per cent in the past 12 months, and Ross is now worth $70 million.

Growing diversity on the Rich List

Kypros Kotzikas's family is a newcomer to the NBR Rich List. The family owns United Fisheries and is valued at $80 million. Photo / Getty Images
Kypros Kotzikas's family is a newcomer to the NBR Rich List. The family owns United Fisheries and is valued at $80 million. Photo / Getty Images

Among the new faces on the list is the Kotzikas family who made their $80 million fortune through fishing.

Patriarch Kypros Kotzikas, 72, came to New Zealand from Cyprus and settled in Christchurch as an 18 year old. He worked at an Aranui fish and chips shop and now he and his four sons own United Fisheries.

Eyal Aharoni, a former Israeli army major, has amassed $70 million by creating Wellington's biggest property company Primeproperty Group.

Aharoni's first appearance on the Rich List comes 28 years after arriving in New Zealand to complete a masters degree at Victoria University.

Property developer and hospitality businessman Chao "Charlie" Zheng has featured on the Rich List for the first time.

NBR said Zheng had "mostly flown under the radar" since his arrival in New Zealand from China a decade ago, until he purchased Kirkcaldie & Stains' old Harbour City Centre building for $45.85 million in 2014. Zheng's commercial property portfolio has boosted his wealth to $110 million.

NBR News Editor Duncan Bridgeman said the contribution of migrant investors to New Zealand couldn't be understated.

"Invariably, those from different ethnic backgrounds who have made it on to the Rich List came to New Zealand decades ago, and methodically set about investing in industries as diverse as hospitality, fishing, property, technology and education," Bridgeman said.

"The contribution of these investors to the economic fabric of New Zealand is sometimes overlooked but, increasingly, they are a key component in the success and diversity of the New Zealand economy."

NBR looked at the philanthropic activities of those on the Rich List and identified a number of big donors who prefer to maintain a low profile.

- NZ Herald

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