The inclusion of four international billionaires in this year's NBR Rich List has helped bump up the total list's value by more than $12 billion.

For the first time in its history, the National Business Review has included foreign investors in its rich list to reflect the globalisation of wealth, bringing the number of billionaires on the list to nine.

Graeme Hart, who is worth $6 billion, is still the wealthiest New Zealander on the list but he was beaten to the top spot by industrial technologist Alexander Abramov ($7 billion).

Other internationals in the top ten are investor Julian Robertson ($3 billion), winemaker William (Bill) Foley ($1.5 billion) and horse breeder Dowager Duchess Henrietta Bedford ($1 billion).


The total value of the Rich List has risen this year from $45.2 billion to $57.7 billion.

Although placed just outside the top ten, Canadian filmmaker James Cameron also entered the list with his $900 million fortune.

Cameron owns a property in the Wairarapa and is best known for directing films like Avatar, The Terminator, and Aliens.

Other new entrants to the list include Bay of Plenty farmers Colin and Dale Armer, and Auckland-based hoteliers, the Pandey family and the Jhunjhunwala family.

Abramov is a minerals and steel magnate who is currently building a $40 million luxury waterfront home in the Bay of Islands.

Robertson owns three luxury lodges in New Zealand and has donated an art collection to the Auckland Art Gallery.

Foley has a luxury lodge in the Wairarapa and is adding New Zealand wineries to his Californian collection.

The Waikato-based Duchess of Bedford owns property throughout New Zealand.

NBR editor-in-chief Nevil Gibson says the achievements of those on this year's Rich List should be celebrated.

"Those on the National Business Review Rich List 2012 invest diversely and generously in art and culture, education and employment opportunities and social services," he said.

Bay of Plenty-based Colin and Dale Armer ($200 million) control 58 South Island farms and 13 North Island farms.

The Pandey family ($100 million) own 19 hotels throughout the country, including a controlling interest in Sofitel Auckland,

The Jhunjhunwala family ($70 million) own the the Sudima Hotels.

The top ten:

1. Alexander Abramov $7 billion
2. Graeme Hart $6 billion
3. Richard Chandler $5 billion
4. Julian Robertson $3 billion
5. Todd family $2.7 billion
6. Christopher Chandler $1.5 billion
6 = William (Bill) Foley $1.5 billion
8. Eamon Cleary $1.2 billion
9. Dowager Duchess Henrietta Bedford $1 billion
10. Goodman family $950 million

* This story has been amended because of an earlier version included the incorrect spelling of Graeme Hart's name.