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New Zealand's three richest men have made the Forbes rich list, albeit a little down the rankings.

The country's wealthiest man, Graeme Hart, a former tow-truck driver, has a $7 billion net worth - making him number 178 on the list of billionaires.

Kiwi brothers Richard and Christopher Chandler also made the list - the former sits back at number 230 with net wealth of $5.6 billion while his younger brother's estimated worth of $1.2 billion puts him down at 1153.

Mr Hart left school at 16 but later gained an MBA from the University of Otago where he conceived his packaging empire Rank Group, which earned him his fortune.


His Reynolds Group recently snapped up Graham Packing Group, a US-based firm that makes plastic Pepsi and Heinz ketchup bottles, for $2.1 billion. It joins the 56-year-old's stable of carton and car parts firms.

Hart also has some envy-making assets. He owns a $30 million clifftop mansion in Glendowie and bought a $20 million Colorado estate overlooking Aspen skifields.

He also owns at least $150 million in superyachts, including New Zealand's largest - the 74-metre Weta.

Waikato's Chandler brothers got their start in 1986 when they sold their parents' retailing business to invest in Hong Kong real estate.

They then formed investment firm Sovereign Global in Monaco to focus on industries in transition in Russia, Latin America and Eastern Europe.

After they split in 2006, Richard, 53, started a Singapore-based fund now called Richard Chandler Corporation - the biggest shareholder in embattled Chinese timber company Sino-Forest.

Christopher Chandler, 52, heads Legatum Capital, a private multibillion-dollar investment firm that focuses on global capital markets.

For the third year Mexican tycoon Carlos Slim retained top position on the Forbes list with an estimated worth of $84 billion. Microsoft's Bill Gates added $6 billion to his pile and is now worth $74 billion. Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg is now worth $21.4 billion.

Christy Walton, of the Walmart family, is the world's richest woman with $30.8 billion, putting her at number 11 on the list.

Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling's wealth drop below $1.2 billion took her off the list, due in part to Britain's high taxes and millions given to charity.

1. Carlos Slim, 72, and family, Mexico - $84b
2. Bill Gates, 56, US - $74b
20. Michael Bloomberg, 70, US - $26.8b
35. Mark Zuckerberg, 27, US - $21.4b
106. Rupert Murdoch, 81, US - $10.1b
122. Ralph Lauren, 72, US - $9.2b
178. Graeme Hart, 56, NZ - $7b
230. Richard Chandler, 53, NZ - $5.6b
255. Richard Branson, 61, UK - $5.1b
1153. Christopher Chandler, 52, NZ - $1.2b.

- additional reporting APNZ