Hollywood director James Cameron is planning to move onto a New Zealand farm. Cameron has successfully applied to buy 1,067 hectares (2,636 acres) of farmland in south Wairarapa, New Zealand for the cost of $NZ20 million (Rs 82 crore).
In an application filed with the New Zealand Overseas Investment Office (OIO), Cameron, who currently resides in Malibu, California, says he and his family 'intend to reside indefinitely in New Zealand and are acquiring the property to reside on and operate as a working farm'.
Cameron, a Canadian, directed two of Hollywood's most successful films, Titanic and Avatar. It's believed he will move to New Zealand this year to film the sequel to Avatar. The properties are along Western Lake Road in south Wairarapa.
One of the farms Cameron bought includes Lake Pounui, which the Bayleys real estate website describes as "possibly the finest privately owned natural lake in the country". The rural properties are about a 90-minute drive from Wellington, home to Weta Digital, which won an Oscar for its visual effects work on the first Avatar movie.
Property sales were reportedly approved by the Overseas Investment Office (OIO) in December. Cameron, who grew up working on his grandfather's farm in Canada,said that he and his wife want their children to grow up with a strong work ethic.
His wife, Suzy's family, also owns a farm in Oklahoma. "The Cameron family is thrilled to be making a new home in New Zealand," a statement read. "We love the rugged landscape and the spirit of the people here, and are looking forward to becoming resident on our beautiful farm."
There's criticism from opposition political parties but Federated Farmers says it's a 'titanic opportunity' for the region. "Cameron's OIO application states they're going to farm the land they've purchased," federation president Bruce Wills said. "Federated Farmers would be pleased to have them as members, there's much we will be able to do to help them settle into the Wairarapa and into farming."
The Labour Party said it didn't have a problem if the family was going to live permanently in New Zealand, but it did if they were going to "flit in and out". New Zealand First leader Winston Peters however said the purchase was "a takeover" which wasn't going to benefit farming or New Zealand's economy. "It's just another example of (Prime Minister) John Key sucking up to his Hollywood mates and applying Wall Street values, which aren't values at all."