Film director James Cameron says he is preparing to permanently leave Hollywood for New Zealand and intends to apply for citizenship.
Cameron, whose credits include Terminator, Aliens and Titanic, intends to spend less time in California and more on his Wairarapa farm - where he's trying "experimental" methods, including getting rid of the dairy herd because of its environmental impact.
"There's something about the country, the people and the landscape," Cameron told the Sunday Star-Times from Los Angeles, where he is writing the next three Avatar films.
"It is a sensible place - people aren't crazy and their values aren't crazy, they are not overly materialistic, they are healthy.
"A lot of society is agrarian and lives close to the earth, and these are all things I find as I go on in life, more and more, that are important to me."
Cameron and his wife, Suzy Amis Cameron, now also own an orchard and heritage property in Greytown.
Cameron's documentary Deepsea Challenger, charting his project to build and pilot a one-man submarine to explore the world's deepest area of seafloor, the Mariana Trench, launches tomorrow with a special screening at Wellington's Embassy Theatre, where he will give a Q&A by Skype.
Cameron said New Zealand "really spoke to me" on his first visit here in 1994.
"I kept talking to Suzy about it, that someday we would go and live in New Zealand and I finally took her by the hand and we flew down there and she fell in love with it too. Now it is a done deal . . ."
Asked if he would seek citizenship, he said: "That's the plan."
Cameron said living in New Zealand permanently would be no hindrance to his film career and much of the work on his Avatar project will be done here.
However, he admitted New Zealand had come close to losing production of the Avatar sequels until the government's new film-funding regulations were introduced.
Reports say the trilogy will receive $125m of taxpayer money.
"We wanted it to go to New Zealand for emotional reasons, but we also have a big corporation in 20th Century Fox writing us a big cheque for these movies . . . so we had to present a case. So, frankly, we took our problem to the Government."
- Sunday Star Times