Timpson, Burdon share rich list spot

22:21, Feb 09 2013

Two men with South Canterbury roots have made the NBR Rich List this year, jointly at 131st with an estimated value of $70 million each.

While their wealth has not changed since last year, Geraldine's Phillip Burdon fell three places from 128th position in 2011 while Peel Forest-born Tony Timpson climbed two places from 133rd position.

Auckland-based Mr Timpson grew up at Peel Forest and boarded at Timaru Boys' High School where, as he puts it, he "majored in cricket and rugby".

He is best known for co-founding Cavalier Carpets in 1972 and in 1988 buying the Bremworth Carpet Company which was relaunched in 1991 as Cavalier Bremworth.

He also bankrolled business publication The Independent from its first issue in September 1992 until March 2006, when the paper was sold to Fairfax.

In 1999 he set up the Timpson Peel Forest Community Trust after he bought his former school at Peel Forest in 1999 and gifted it to the community. In 2003 it became the Timpson Holiday House, for families who care for people with disabilities or illnesses.


Mr Timpson said while the list was inaccurate, it was the best guess at people's wealth in New Zealand.

When he left Timaru Boys High School in 1949 he worked at the Timaru District Court before being drafted into the army during the waterfront strike of 1950. He then moved to Christchurch to become an accountant.

While he likes coming back to the region to visit his sister in Geraldine, Mr Timpson says he does not envisage moving back here.

"Everyone I knew there is dead. Although you can take the boy out of the country you can't take the country out of the boy."

Mr Burdon was a National MP from 1981 to 1996. He was also an Air New Zealand director and a Brierley Investments director. He owns homes in Geraldine and Christchurch. He is a co-owner of the multi-storey Brannigans building on Christchurch's Oxford Tce.

In 1970 he co-founded Meadow Mushrooms, now the second-largest producer of mushrooms in Australasia, which has a workforce of more than 500 and processes around 20 tonnes of mushrooms every day.

He could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Notable again in his absence was Temuka farmer Alan Pye, a business associate of the late Allan Hubbard. In 2010 Mr Pye occupied 29th place and was estimated to be worth in $180m. Last year he and Mr Hubbard were dropped from the list.

The Timaru Herald