Queenstown Rich Listers all break through $100 million mark

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A PART-time Queenstowner and English aristocrat is tipped for a big rise in the country’s iconic wealth tally. 

The annual National Business Review Rich List is said to lift the wealth of Henrietta, Duchess Dowager of Bedford, from an estimated $1.1 billion to $1.125 billion. 

As part of a consortium of British millionaires, Henrietta has made property investments totalling an estimated $70 million in the past few years, in Invercargill, Dunedin, Timaru, Christchurch, Napier, Rotorua, Auckland and Hamilton. 

About $12 million of that has apparently been invested in inner-city Invercargill. 

Her alpine retreat near Arrowtown – the renovations of which won an award last year – is one of three homes, with the others being a small holding near Matamata and an Auckland townhouse. 

Her son Andrew ranks 152 on the British Sunday Times Rich List, with a family fortune of £660 million. 

This year is the first time the five Queenstown Rich Listers have all cracked the $100 million mark. 

The fortunes of wealthy knights Sir Eion Edgar and Sir John Davies have been bumped up to $100 million from $95 million. 

Sir John’s Trojan Holdings is spending $45 million upgrading facilities and infrastructure at The Remarkables ski area, including a new chairlift opened last week by deputy prime minister Bill English. 

Barry Thomas’s cash pile has swollen to an estimated $125 million from $115 million last year. 

A strong performance from tourism operator Skyline Enterprises, of which Thomas and his wife Sharon own 5.8 per cent, ensured another healthy dividend. 

Jeweller Sir Michael Hill‘s wealth is expected to stay the same at $300 million, as his company Michael Hill International considers a new retailing concept, which mixes jewellery items with everyday wear. 

The first Emma & Roe store has opened in Mackay, Queensland. 

Hill’s family company Durante Holdings owns 53 per cent of the listed jeweller – which has dropped in value to about $510 million from $575 million a year ago. 

It still provides enough of a return to allow Sir Michael to keep his golf course, The Hills, in suitably manicured condition and his superyacht, VVS1, topped up with fuel.