New NBR List puts equal focus on profit, purpose

Photo: ODT files.
There have been a few changes to NBR’s annual rundown of the wealthiest people in the country.

Rather than simply focus on wealth for wealth’s sake, the editorial team made a call this year to drop the word "rich" from the long-running "NBR Rich List" moniker.

List editor Maria Slade said in the aftermath of Covid-19, it was time to rethink the purpose of the ranking system.

"So we created The NBR List to put equal focus on profit and purpose.

"The NBR List honours people who are building enterprises, growing New Zealand’s fortunes, creating jobs and giving back."

The list, which returns after a one-year hiatus caused by Covid-19, features a total 100 New Zealanders operating across five categories (property, make and sell, investment, agribusiness and tech and services).

While familiar names such as Graeme Hart, the Todd and Goodman families and the Mowbrays lead the top 10, there are also a few newcomers among the 100.

Newcomers include rocket man Peter Beck; Alison’s Pantry and Mother Earth manufacturers Bernie and Kaye Crosby; Jonny Hendriksen, founder of video advertising company Shuttlerock; and brothers Chris and Stephen Harris, who sold their gaming studio Ninja Kiwi for $270million in March.

To reflect the shifting focus of the list, this year also features a "ones to watch list", which includes Colin Neal and his investment vehicle Polar Capital; South Island venison growers the Whyte family; and Cin7 inventory management system creator Danny Ing.

Also worth mentioning are the philanthropic efforts of some influential businesspeople included this year.

Douglas Pharmaceuticals managing director Jeff Douglas and veteran investor Sir Christopher Mace’s contributions to a $6.2million fund to buy Elliot Bay in the Bay of Islands and return it to the public conservation estate.

HW Richardson transport group owners, the Richardson-O’Donnell family, of Southland, are behind a $33million dementia care village.

The editorial team behind the project decided to exclude those based overseas who contributed little to the New Zealand business community.

The biggest departure due to this rule was New Zealand citizen and Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel.

The market cap of Mr Thiel’s spook software outfit Palantir is large enough to challenge Mr Hart’s position as the richest New Zealander.

Asked about other high-profile departures, Ms Slade said they "include US-based fund manager Ric Kayne, who has built a few golf courses here but otherwise runs his business interests overseas; the Simunovich family, who are mostly offshore-based now; and Lyn Erceg, the widow of liquor baron Michael — she is very wealthy, but does little in the NZ business community".

Southerners listed include the Richardson-O’Donnell family at $400million, Sir Michael Hill at $290million and Michael Guthrie at $275million.

The New Zealand Herald/Additional reporting Otago Daily Times


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