Director James Cameron and his wife Suzy Amis on the red carpet of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey world premiere.
Director James Cameron and his wife Suzy Amis on the red carpet of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey world premiere. Seanna Cronin

James Cameron buys NZ walnut orchard

HOLLYWOOD film director James Cameron is growing his Wairarapa land holdings, buying the Pinnacle Grove walnut orchard and another property.

Cameron, who directed Terminator, Titanic and Avatar, got state clearance for two purchases of just over 20ha, which includes the orchard.

The Overseas Investment Office has just issued decision sheets for May showing he could grow his big existing holdings north of Wellington.

The Canadian's T Base 2 Ltd sought clearance to buy the 10.8ha walnut orchard from New Zealanders Adrianus and Alexandrine van der Tol and 10.1ha from New Zealanders Ian and Maria Telfar via their company, Imae.

The sheets showed how his applications complied with New Zealand law governing foreigners buying land here.

"James F Cameron and his family intend to reside indefinitely in New Zealand.

"They are acquiring the land as part of a larger acquisition of land in south Wairarapa which they will use as a residence and working farm," said his application on the 10.1ha deal.

On the orchard deal, the sheet told how Cameron intended the existing nut farming venture would expand onto his other holdings.

"The applicant intends to continue to operate the land as a walnut orchard and utilise the vendors' knowledge and expertise to establish walnut trees on Pounui Station," the office said.

Last February, Cameron bought two Western Lake Rd properties, a 250ha working dairy farm and a 817ha hillside block overlooking Lake Pounui.

He bought a further 10.11ha of land on the same road last March, and three blocks of land totalling 26.8ha in last May.

According to the Overseas Investment Act 2005, purchasers of sensitive land must meet criteria including business experience relative to their investment, financial commitment to the investment, and be of good character.

The 10.1ha which is lot 25 on the Western Lake Rd, Featherston and 10.8ha at 240 Norfolk Rd, Carterton are both listed as sensitive land.

The van der Tols say they are originally from the Netherlands. They settled on a block of bare land where they created the walnut grove and a homestay.

"Pinnacle Grove produces some of New Zealands's finest walnuts and supplies both shelled and whole walnuts to a selection of New Zealand's top restaurants," they say on their web site.