Who is Taranaki's richest man?

JOHN ANTHONY AND FAIRFAX
Last updated 07:56 27/07/2012
jennings stand
Stephen Jennings is Taranaki's richest man, and the 11th richest man in the country.

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Prime Minister John Key is on the verge of falling off the National Business Review's Rich List for 2012, with a reported $5 million drop in his personal wealth over the last year.

Key's estimated $50m fortune ranks him last place on the list, at 157, and just pushes him over the threshold for inclusion.

That figure is the same as when he first became a Rich Lister in 2008, although last year he rejected the accuracy of the annual report as 'made up by a bunch of journalists'.

At the other end of the spectrum, the wealthiest person atop the Rich List - for the first time - is not a New Zealander.

A sprinkling of international investors added this year has swelled the ranks of the billionaires' club from six to nine, but also pushed the country's wealthiest down the ladder. Six-billion-dollar Auckland business tycoon Graeme Hart has been usurped by Russian steel magnate Alexander Abramov, valued at $7b. Abramov is building a $40 million luxury waterfront home in the Bay of Islands.

The five new foreign investors have injected $13.4b into the list, skyrocketing the combined total value up to $57.7b from $45.2b in 2011.

But the 152 locally-grown rich- listers actually had a slight dip in collective wealth, down 2 per cent to $44.3b.

Taranaki's richest ex-pat has slipped out of the top 10 in this year's New Zealand rich list.

Last year Taranaki-born Stephen Jennings was ranked sixth equal with an estimated worth of $900 million.

This year his estimated worth has remained the same but his position dropped to 11th equal.

He sits alongside three others including Titanic and Avatar director and new entrant James Cameron.

Jennings, 51, was born in Waitara and schooled at Oakura and Spotswood College.

He still owns a luxury home at Oakura.

He made his fortune through his Moscow- based Renaissance Group which offers financial, investment and management expertise in emerging markets.

Its latest projects focus on Africa where Renaissance Capital Financial Holdings is building a $63m, 1011.7-hectare housing development outside Kenya's capital city of Nairobi.

The Rich List also featured the Turner Family, who the National Business Review researchers said were born in Taranaki.

The Turners were ranked 83rd equal with an estimated wealth of $110 million.

Companies included in their empire are Sleepyhead, Beds R Us and luxury boat building company Formula Cruisers.

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Three brothers - Graeme, Peter and Craig Turner - manage the fortune and the family has been on the Rich List since 1993. Fairfax News

- Taranaki Daily News

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