New Zealand is located in the southwestern Pacific Ocean and it has two main landmasses and around 600 smaller islands. New Zealand is a developed country that ranks high on international national performance lists and has one of the best qualities of live, high civil liberty and is an all-around pleasant place to live in. Among other positive things we’ve listen already New Zealand has one of the most fascinating landscape in the world and offer a great variety of tourist destinations and wildlife to explore for the locals and foreigners alike. You might think that this set up would lead to a country having a lot of millionaires but in reality, there are only 2. That doesn’t mean that there’s a lack of rich people in the country but it points to a fact that wealth is more evenly distributed among people in New Zealand. The country has an advanced market economy that ranked as number 16 worldwide in the 2018 Human Development Index and ranked 3rd in Economic Freedom.
Throughout the years New Zealand has relied heavily on extractive industries like sealing, whaling, flax, gold, Kauri gum, and native timber. New Zealand has always managed to have a strong economy because of its resources and its location which allowed for easy exporting. Because of their close trading partnerships with Britain New Zealand has achieved a very high standard of living and has kept the momentum going. To this day New Zealand is heavily dependant on trade, particularly in agricultural products but it tried to diversify its economy and explore the yet untouched field in the country. We’ve made a list of richest people and wealthiest families in New Zealand along with their background and how they got to the success level that they’re at right now. So if you ‘ve ever wondered who are the richest people in New Zealand then here’s a list for you.
- Age: 71
- Industry: Banking
- Networth: $570 million
We’re starting off our list with the world-famous banker Sir Michael Fay. The billionaires was born in Auckland, got his law degree at Victoria University of Wellington. He got his wealth mostly in the 1980s and 1990s and has done a great job of building his wealth on top of that. Michael Fay is a merchant banker and a partner in the merchant bank Fay Rich white. Sir Michael Fay was around when the major shifts were happening around New Zealand’s Fourth Labour Government and the country’s economy. He played a huge role in those infrastructural changes, made all the right connections and set himself up for success then and there. To go into more detail, Michael Fay along with David Richwhite, gained wealth through a seriously of largely unregulated privatization and asset swapping that happened in New Zealand during the restructuring period of 1986- 1993. The asset swamp covered Fay’s and Richwhite’s companies, European Pacific, Capital Markets and Fay Richwhite as well as state-owned Bank of New Zealand, Tranz Rail and Telecom New Zealand. In all of these loosely regulated swamps, it is not surprising that they both got into some trouble. The authorities were concerned over the sale of New Zealand Rail limited which were sold overseas and in this deal Fay and Richwhie bought 31.8% shares and they ended up being investigated by the New Zealand authorities. In 2004 they were officially access to insider trading since allegedly Richwhite tipped off Midavia to sell $#63 million worth of shares in Tranz Rail while knowing the company was facing undisclosed problems. The settlement cost Richwhite $20 million and at the time was the largest settlement of its kind in Australasia. Sine then Fay was largely associated with him so his rise to wealth was always regarded with suspiscion.
- Industry: Real estate
- Networth: $1.2 billion
Friedlander made a name and a fortune for himself by controlling and developing real estate. He controls a large company that has more than 220 properties all over Auckland. Like many billionaires, the Friedlander family is very media-shy and they largely keep to themselves and dont flaunt their possessions. But to compensate for that they are heavily involved in philanthropy and make sure to give back to the community and help out the less fortunate. Friedlander turned his real estate company into a family business that now covers Samson Corporation and Sterling Nominee. His two sons Jason and Daniel operate the everyday activities and managerial tasks in these companies. After he gained the recognition and success, he branched out and moved outside the real estate industry. Similar to many other millionaires and billionaires that came out of that era not much is known about how they started and what steps they took to reach success. As mentioned above in the list, there was a lot of unregulated asset swapping going on along with the privatization of many firms so its tough to speak with confidence about most of this billionaires’ origin stories. But at least Michael can stand up for himself and say that he has been a good citizen and has been giving back to the community on a regular basis which would be true. Maybe part of the reason why the whole family is so private is because they want to avoid too many people knowing their business and possibly finding out some shady details about the family’s past and how they acquired their money. Whatvere their story is now the family stays mostly out of trouble and Friedlander has even received a 2010 Queen’s Birthday Honours.
- Age: 59
- Industry: Investments
- Networth: $1.7 billion
Christopher is one of the younger billionaires in New Zealand and most of his wealth comes to form his investments. He is the founder of Dubai-based investment company Legatum. Before that, he studied law and in University of Auckland. Chandler comes from the family of beekeepers that were operating a department store in Hamilton, New Zealand. Christopher and his brother Richard took over these stores in 1982 and managed to expand it into ten stores, incorporating fashion, manufacturing and real estate into the family business. So Christopher did have some advantage because his parents were operating a pretty successful store already, but he and his brother can definitely take the credit for taking the business to the next level. After incorporating all of these different industries into their store the brothers started to think about international investment opportunities. In 1986 Christopher and Robert founded Sovereign Global, an investment firm based in Monaco. In the beginning stages of the firm they focused on transitioning industries in Russia, Latin America, and Eastern Europe. Their approach was to invest in assets which they thought were misprices in time of crisis. The firm turned out to be a success and then later in 2006, Christopher founded Dubai-based Legatum Capital after deciding with his brother that it was better to conduct their businesses separately. Now Legatum puts money into companies in developing countries as well ass world’s capital markets and clearly they’re doing a good job since Christopher is on the list of richest people in New Zealand. Both Chandler and his brother are also very reserves. It will be hard to even find a decent picture of him since he tried to stay out of the public eye, but his success story still made him into one of the most successful billionaires in his country.
- Age: 61
- Industry: Investments
- Networth: $3.2 billion
While New Zealand has produced millionaires from different industries it doesn’t mean that the country is immune from the money circulating in the same families. We already talked about Christopher Chandler and now we will introduce Richard Chandler. The two were doing a good job conducting business together, they helped their parent shop to develop into something much more profitable but after spending years working together they decided to split up and follow different paths. The two brothers are both billionaires but lead different lives. While not much is known about Christopher’s private life Richard has always been more open with the public. He is currently a chairman of the Clermont Group, which is a Singapore-based business group that invests in public and private companies that cover the energy industry, financial sector, consumer and healthcare. Richard’s investment style is often described as deep value investing. He prioritizes long-term value investment and has carried the same steady approach to his career. He is heavily involved in companies with national socio-economic implications and promotes social responsibility through his actions. As Richard has said himself the company is a value investor with a sense of responsibility and not activists. In 2007, the year after he split up his business with his brother, Richard launched a $100 million education initiative in the developing world to help the low-cost private education expand its reach in India. He is also a core partner at Co-Impact, which is a collaborative philanthropy unit that has members like Bill and Melinda Gates, Jeff Skoll and the Rockefeller Foundation. His career is full of charity projects like this and he has been much more active in thie regard compared to his brother.
The richest person in New Zealand is also an investor. This seems to be a quite popular way to get rich in New Zealand and Graeme Hart seems to know that very well. Generally, Graeme stays out of the public eye and conducts his business in private. He lives in Auckland New Zealand and owns Reynolds Packaging Group. Like the Chandler brother, Hart is also known for leveraged buyouts and much like other similar private equity investors, he waits for the underperforming and undervalued companies with steady cash flows then buys than with the hope of improving their status buy better management. and through restructuring with other businesses. One of his biggest purchases happened in 2006 when he acquired Carter Holt Harvey, He has focused on packaging since then. Alcoa’s acquisition was alose very important since in cost Hart’s company $2.7 billion dollars. Now he doesn’t manage his business anymore but mostly spends his time at work dealing with the finances or recapitalization of the companies. He is one of those exceptional people who managed to make a fortune without having a wealthy family. Graeme worked as a truck driver at the age of 16, after leaving school. Because of his outstanding knack for the business he still managed to complete an MBA from the University of Otago and even in his thesis, he talked about the strategy that he later used to become a billionaire. He controls the Rank Group, his very own private investment company, which contains Burns Philip, Carter Holt Harvey, and Reynold’s Packaging group. He launched a 58m luxury motor yacht Ulysses, that was valued at $100 million and this got a lot of attention from the press, even though billionaire usually stays out of the spotlight. He is generally interested in Yachts and has a couple of them at his disposal.