Billionaire’s Closeburn buy-up


Billionaire Graeme Hart, New Zealand’s richest man, has bought in Queenstown again.

In March, Mountain Scene broke the story of Hart splashing $24 million to buy a six-bedroom holiday home at the exclusive Closeburn Station, about 11km from the resort.

Not content with that, the packaging mogul’s spent millions buying the property next-door, with which he shares a driveway.

Hart – worth $7.5 billion according to NBR’s Rich List – is now Closeburn’s only multiple-plot owner.

It’s not clear when the deal was done, but it’s confirmed in Companies Office filings made in June. The sale price isn’t clear, either – but it’s sure to be in the millions of dollars.

A staffer at Hart’s Rank Group office in Auckland says: “There will be no comment.”

Reports from 1998 state the section’s previous owner, Greenland Timber Industries Ltd, a Singaporean investment company, paid $500,000 for the .45-hectare plot.

Like all Closeburn owners, that includes a one-27th share in the station’s 1000-hectare farm.

Greenland Timber’s majority owner in the 1990s was Malaysian-based Thai tycoon Surin Upatkoon.

Forbes magazine lists his fortune at $US1b.

Surin’s investments include telecoms and gaming companies.