Hamish Kennedy has emerged as the biggest climber in this year's NBR Rich List released this morning, jumping to place number 60.

The founder of fruit sorting business Compac Sorting Equipment is now worth an estimated $230 million.

This followed a $180m, or 360 per cent, increase in his fortune in the past year after selling the business to Norway's Tomra for an estimated $300m.

Kennedy launched the business more than 30 years ago in his basement and before its sale, the Kennedy family owned about 75 per cent of the business.


It is estimated he made $225m from the sale.

The fruit sorting company employs more than 700 staff globally and operates in more than 40 countries.

While studying engineering at the University of Auckland, Kennedy started looking for opportunities in the technology sector.

He started building a prototype in the basement of his friends' flat in 1982 as a summer holiday project. By 1984 he had the first Compac machine working.

Since then, Kennedy has amassed a swathe of industry awards including being named 2015 EY Entrepreneur of the Year in the technology category, and winning the 2017 Hi-Tech Award for Best Hi-Tech Solution for the agritech sector.

At the other end of the list, Ian McCrae has emerged as the biggest decline this year, with his estimated wealth falling $225m or 64.3 per cent to $125m.

Orion Health chief executive Ian McCrae's net worth has fallen significantly this year. Photo/Greg Bowker
Orion Health chief executive Ian McCrae's net worth has fallen significantly this year. Photo/Greg Bowker

The chief executive of Orion Health has a 50.58 per cent stake in the company and his net worth has fallen as shares in the company have tumbled.

The company listed in 2014 and hit a share price high in June last year of $5.31 before falling to less than $1 following US President Donald Trump's healthcare policies.

It has since risen to $1.25, however the decline has seen McCrae's paper wealth more than halve.

Biggest risers

Maber family - up 100%

Coming in as the second largest increase is the Maber family, jumping $50m or 100 per cent to $100m.

The Maber's are major players in New Zealand's agriculture sector, with company Power Farming Holdings putting them on the Rich List for the first time two years ago.

Power Farming is a group of companies which sells agricultural machinery including tractors across Europe, North America, Asia, New Zealand and Australia.

It has an annual turnover of about $380m and employs 380 staff.

Hurst family - up 75%
The family behind Hurst Lifecare have seen their net worth rise $45m or 75 per cent in the past year to $105m.

The aged-care business has facilities in the North and South Island and has continued to grow significantly.

Its portfolio includes the Strathallan Lifecare retirement village in Timaru, Oxford Court Lifecare in Dunedin, Rhodes on Cashmere in Christchurch, Mary Doyle Lifecare in Hawke's Bay and Village At The Park in Wellington.

The family also has investments including shareholdings in health care company Arvida.

Biggest falls

Richard Chandler - down 52%

A slump in oil prices has hit Richard Chandler's private investment firm, Clermont Group, with his banking investments in India and Nigeria appearing to go through a rough patch as a result.

His net worth has subsequently fallen $2.2b to $2b, putting him at fourth on the Rich List this year.

Clermont Group focuses on highly risky investments in emerging markets.

Chandler and his brother have both been successful in business, managing between them to turn a $10m family inheritance into several billion dollars through investments in real estate, Japanese banks, oil conglomerates and other industries.

Geoff Ross - down 28.6%
Entrepreneur Geoff Ross has been involved in a number of businesses, starting with his vodka company 42 Below which he sold in 2006 for $138m.

His investments now include Moa Group where he is chief executive, and Trilogy International.

The skincare and candle company has taken a hit recently with the company's share price having halved from a high of $4.90 last year - and a correspondingly large fall in Ross' personal net worth.

Ross is now estimated to be worth $50m, down from $70m last year.