Many of the brains behind the past year’s big technology deals are featured in this year’s 21st anniversary edition of the NBR Rich List.
They include Auckland’s Robinson family and Navman founder Peter Maire, who made headlines in May when they listed high-tech crystal manufacturer Rakon on the stock exchange and the shares jumped 50% on the first day of trading.
The most anticipated addition, Trade Me founder Sam Morgan, debuts along with a number of former shareholders of the now Fairfax-owned company, including his parents and former colleagues from business advisers Deloitte.
The NBR Rich List also features less obvious e-commerce candidates, such as Japan-based Tim Williams, who last year sold his 50% stake in marketing software business ValueCommerce to Yahoo Japan.
There are IT veterans, such as Endeavour Capital chairman Neville Jordan, whose former company MAS Technology was the first New Zealand company to list on the Nasdaq, and Eagle Technology chairwoman Corallie Eagle, who together with her husband the late Trevor Eagle founded the high-technology firm in 1969.
There are 222 entrants in this year’s NBR Rich List with a collective wealth of NZ$35.1 billion, a NZ$3.7 billion increase on last year.
The 21 newcomers include Trade Me founder Sam Morgan, who brings eight other investors with him; reality television queen Julie Christie; high-tech crystal manufacturers the Robinson family of stockmarket darling Rakon; agribusiness dealmaker Craig Norgate; baby photographer Anne Geddes; gymnasium king Phillip Mills and the new Tauranga MP Bob ‘The Builder’ Clarkson.
The Higgins family of Palmerston North also make the NBR Rich List for the first time, having avoided the spotlight for many years. Their civil contracting business was founded in 1958 and is now chaired by Pat Higgins, who was made an officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit in last year’s Queen’s Birthday honours. The Higgins also have extensive property interests in the Manawatu region.
The Rich List was first published in 1986 by NBR’s then sister publication Personal Investor and was taken over by NBR in 1990. In 1986, the lowest entry was $5 million for the Adams family, of Ernest Adams fame. The threshold was quickly raised to $16 million in 1987 and $20 million in 1988, remaining there until 2004 when it was raised to $25 million.
The Todd family has consistently been New Zealand’s wealthiest family and had the highest overall wealth listing every year but two. Nine individuals or families have been on the list every year since 1986: Sir Ron Brierley; Michael Fay and David Richwhite; Michael Friedlander; Craig Heatley; Sir Patrick Hogan; Sir Robert (Bob) Jones; Paykel family and John Spencer