One of New Zealand's wealthiest men was laid to rest in Ireland on Friday.

Eamon Cleary, who was ranked 8th on the National Business Review's list of the wealthiest New Zealanders with $1.2 billion, died on September 21 at his horse stud in Kentucky, USA, after a 6-month battle with cancer.

According to the NBR, he made most of his fortune in New Zealand buying land in the 1990s and converting it to dairy farms.

Originally from County Monaghan in Ireland, Cleary left school when he was just 11 and started his own building company at 17, The Irish Times reported.


About 10 years later he had developed one of the largest agri-supply companies in Ireland and by 1996 he had moved to New Zealand, which soon proved to be his land of opportunity.

He acquired substantial investments in agricultural land and commercial property in the North and South Islands, while also pursuing his many telecoms, biofuel agriculture and retail ventures abroad..

He recently sold the 22,000ha Coronet Peak Station to music producer Robert Lange - Shania Twain's ex-husband.

Cleary gave a large sum of money to the University of Otago for it to deliver an Irish Studies programme, which has become the largest such programme in the southern hemisphere.

He was buried at Glasnevin Cemetery, Dublin.