Peter Ivan Talijancich

Knight companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to business and philanthropy

Fishing magnate Peter Talley is a joint managing director of the Motueka-based Talley's Group.

With his brother, Michael, Sir Peter runs what was started as a fishing company by his Yugoslav immigrant father, Ivan Talijancich, in 1936. The company has expanded to include vegetable, dairy and meat divisions, including the takeover of meat processor Affco in 2010.

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The National Business Review's 2014 Rich List put the Talley family's fortune at $300 million.

The media-shy rich-lister declined an interview request from the Herald, but in an emailed response said that while he was grateful and counted himself lucky, the honour was more about recognising what the business and family had been able to achieve.

"As a family we've been fortunate to work with some really passionate people in some exciting industries and have some fun and success along the way," he said.

"I'm just proud to be part of that and pleased to see it recognised for all involved, the business and the family."

Sir Peter was appointed an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2002 for services to the fishing industry, exports and the community.

He has courted controversy in the past by calling for the Department of Conservation to be disbanded and campaigning for the country's fur seal population to be monitored.

At a panel debating a South Island seal cull in 2000, Sir Peter complained that fur seals ate millions of dollars worth of fish each year.

However, it has been Sir Peter's work promoting the employment of New Zealanders in the fishing industry, and calling for tighter regulation of foreign fishing vessels in New Zealand waters, that arguably earned him the greatest acclaim.

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He has lobbied the Government to bring forward a law requiring the vessels to fly the New Zealand flag, making them subject to local laws.

Sir Peter has said that foreign chartered boats should be required to employ some New Zealand staff, saying it was wrong that 1500 to 2000 foreign nationals were working within New Zealand's exclusive economic zone when there were so many unemployed in New Zealand.

His philanthropic efforts include supporting the Motueka Hospital Trust, funding a museum in Nelson to host the World of Wearable Art collection and sponsoring the Motueka Charity Golf Classic, Outward Bound and the Nelson Car Club rally.