NBR rich list: NZ's top wealth creators unveiled

Businessman Simon Henry remains on New Zealand's rich list despite his recent controversial comments about Nadia Lim.

The rich list, which shows off New Zealand's wealthiest people, was published by The National Business Review (NBR) on Monday.

Graeme Hart, worth more than $12 billion, topped the list once again. His estimated net worth was up from $11 billion in 2020.

But another noteworthy name on the list was Henry, the founder and chief executive of specialty chemicals company DGL. He came under fire earlier this month for suggesting celebrity chef and My Food Bag co-founder Lim's looks were to blame for the company's disappointing entry into the public market.

"When you've got Nadia Lim, when you've got a little bit of Eurasian fluff in the middle of your prospectus with a blouse unbuttoned showing some cleavage… then you know you're in trouble," he told NBR.

But the publication's decision to keep Henry on the list was due to the fact he was a major wealth contributor to New Zealand, editor Maria Slade told AM.

"This whole business with the comments that he made about Nadia Lim - that came out of the process of interviewing him and talking about his endeavours," she explained. "We thought about it long and hard, and you can't escape the fact that his company, DGL Group, has done incredibly well - even though its share price has dropped following this latest furore."

Among the noteworthy names now in the rich list's top 10 include Sir Peter Jackson and his wife Dame Fran Walsh - both now in the billionaire's club.

Jim and Rosemari Delegat, the owners of winemaker Delegat, have slipped down the list due to global supply chain issues.

NBR's 2022 list of top 10 wealth creators:

  • Graeme Hart (Rank Group - $12 billion)
  • Todd family (Parent company of Nova Energy and Todd Energy - $4.3b)
  • Goodman family (Investments all around the world - $3.5b)
  • Mowbray family (Leaders of ZURU, a toy manufacturer in China - $3b)
  • Michael Friedlander (Businessman - $2.1b)
  • Sir Peter Jackson and Dame Fran Walsh (Film producer and screenwriter - $1.7b)
  • Talley family (Talley's Group - $1.6b)
  • Bruce Plested (Chairman and founder of Mainfreight - $1.45b)
  • Rod Drury (Tech entrepreneur - $1.3b)
  • Bob Jones (Investor - $1.15b)
Graeme Hart.
Graeme Hart. Photo credit: Getty Images

Who is Graeme Hart - NZ's richest person? 

Having left Mt Roskill Grammar school on his 15th birthday, Hart worked as a tow truck driver and panel beater before starting his first business at age 18, NBR reported.

After owning a small printing business, he bought the Government printing office in 1990, before moving to Burns Philp, Goodman Fielder and Carter Holt. Now in his mid-60s, the businessman has built his fortune in the packaging and building supplies industries.

"This is basically on the back of his investments," Slade said of Hart topping the rich list. "He's one of the ones that have benefitted greatly off the back of the pandemic."

Christchurch businessman climbs list

One of the list's big winners was Mark Stewart of Christchurch.

His wealth skyrocketed after selling Ziwi, a premium pet food company, last year for more than $1 billion.