He has to live here just 44 days a year

16:00, Mar 02 2012
 James Cameron
NEW KIWIS? James Cameron and his wife Suzy Amis are planning to move to Wairarapa.

Revealed: the full details of Hollywood mogul James Cameron's land buy-up in Wairarapa.

He says he wants to make New Zealand home, but the maker of history's two biggest films will have to spend just 44 days here a year – and he doesn't have to live here at all in the first year.

Newly released documents show James Cameron – a self-styled "film-maker, explorer and technology entrepreneur" – will need to spend only 88 days over two years to fulfil his residency requirements.

He is believed to have paid about $20 million for two large rural Wairarapa properties, one a 250-hectare dairy farm, the other a much larger 817ha hillside property overlooking Lake Pounui – a lake he also now owns. The farm had been on the market since 2004, with an asking price of $18m.

Cameron's full Overseas Investment Office (OIO) application has been released to The Dominion Post under the Official Information Act.

It shows he applied for residency under Immigration New Zealand's Investment Plus category – reserved for those investing more than $10m.


As such the 57-year-old director of Titanic and Avatar must now spend at least 44 days in New Zealand each year in the final two years of a three-year investment period. There is no requirement to spend time here in the first year.

The documents show Cameron has been granted residence "in principle", with visas to be granted upon application.

"The Cameron family intends to take up their permanent visas in New Zealand as soon as possible and to permanently reside in New Zealand."

According to Investor Plus rules, Cameron also had to pass health and character requirements, including FBI clearance, and must invest a minimum of $10m over three years. At the end of three years, he and his family may seek permanent residency.

One of Hollywood's biggest names, Cameron has said little about his reasons for coming here.

He was unavailable for comment as he is on board an expedition ship in Papua New Guinea "doing sea trials on a new research submersible'.

But, one reason stated in his application is a seeming desire for privacy due to his "extensive media exposure in the USA".

A love of the land and people is also mentioned, with the family feeling "emotionally drawn" to New Zealand. "Mr and Mrs Cameron believe that their young children will benefit from being raised amongst the values of New Zealand, including self-reliance, hard work, creativity, respect for the land and indigenous peoples, fairness and a can-do spirit."

Cameron has three children with wife Suzy Amis – twins Claire and Quinn, 10, and Elizabeth Rose, 5. He has a daughter, Josephine, 18, with ex-wife Linda Hamilton, who starred in Cameron's Terminator movies.

Under OIO rules, Cameron must arrive within 12 months, and it is expected he will start work on two sequels to Avatar, which was made with Weta Digital.

Along with the film work, he is proposing to continue running his two properties as working farms. Both will be partly converted to "sustainable cropping" in addition to their current dairy and sheep farming uses.

Cameron has lived "off the grid" in the United States for several years, using solar and wind energy to power his California home. It is believed he will build a large eco-house at Pounui, with the current four-bedroom house used as guest accommodation.