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Croatians Feature at Top of New Zealand’s Rich List


With an estimated 2 million people with Croatian heritage living outside of Croatia, a large number have made impacts in the communities they live in around the world. Croatians seem to pop up everywhere, and when New Zealand released its latest Rich List on Wednesday, there was no exception…

Three out of the top 5 on the rich list have a Croatian flavour. In number 2 spot, with an estimated fortune of 3.2 billion NZD is half Croatian Richard Chandler. Chandler, whose mother Marija was born in Croatia, made his cash through investing in public and private equity across a range of industries, including energy, financial services, consumer, and healthcare.

“When I moved to New Zealand at the age of 19 it was a great culture shock. I really felt I was thrown into a very primitive ‘wild west’ society. I was born in a double-storey house in Croatia, in a very historic city where the gothic cathedral is world-famous, a United Nations heritage site. I was steeped in classics, architecture, opera and literature. No one in New Zealand was talking about things I wanted to talk about – just farming, wool production and how much mutton and beef was exported,” said Chandler’s mother in an interview two years.

Marija, who since changed her name to Ana, has another son in the top 5, Richard’s brother Christopher, who came in at number 5 on the list with an estimated fortune of 1.2 billion NZD . The two brothers, who started off together in business, split their assets and went their separate ways in 2006 with Christopher now operating a Dubai-based investment firm.

In third place on the list is the Erceg family, whose head Michael Erceg founded a very successful liquor business before tragically being killed in a helicopter crash in 2005. The family is worth 1.6 billion NZD.

Businessman-investor Graeme Hart topped New Zealand’s rich list with an estimated fortune of 7 billion NZD.

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