Still no Takers for Land on Pitcairn Island?
By Maria Thermann

Still no Takers for Land on Pitcairn Island?

Although there are plenty of suitable plots to build on and building a home is relatively cheap, the idea of moving to a place where a ferry delivers post, news, tourists, and comestibles only every three months is apparently far too daunting for the average migrant, for Pitcairn Islanders have so far not been inundated with requests.

Currently, there are no existing properties for sale, so it's not exactly an investor's haven or house hunters' paradise either. Even Christies International, specialists in "desert island" sales, haven't got a listing for Pitcairn Islands real estate.

Yet, there are quite a few advantages to moving to such a remote spot. For a start, land is free, so there's just the NZ$500 cost for the settlement application to consider, the cost of building a home, plus proof that one has NZ$30,000 of funds in the bank to support one self for the foreseeable future. Pensioners have a distinct advantage here, as they have a regular income.

There are no taxes to pay on the island, which is another plus. The cost of building a house is around NZ$150,000 for a home with ca. 160 sqm floor space, according to the Pitcairns' immigration website. This comparatively low, when considering what building from scratch would cost in the UK. This estimate, by the way, includes paying local contractors and importing all building materials and furnishings. If you want fancy building works done though, you may have to "import" your own architect and workforce, which would add considerably to the overall building costs.

Where are the Pitcairn Islands?

The Pitcairn Islands are a small archipelago of four volcanic islands in the southern Pacific Ocean. Ducie, Henderson, Oeno and Pitcairn are about as remote as it gets. Pitcairn Island is the second largest of the group, and the only inhabited island. By default, as it is the only settlement, Adamstown is Pitcairn's capital.

What about Immigration Limits?

At present, there are just 50 inhabitants, so it's not exactly a crowded metropolis, in case you were planning opening a nightclub...

Plans for population growth currently foresee an increase of up to 80 residents over the next five years, but expansion beyond this number "has not been ruled out" in the current Strategic Development Plan. So there's still hope for you to become the Pitcairn's next great entrepreneur selling to a "mass audience".

If you're one of the 3 million much-maligned EU citizens currently living in Britain, don't expect to be handed a UK passport after moving to Pitcairn Island - the immigration website may allow just about anyone from anywhere to apply for a plot of land in Adamstown, but when asked if that would entitle immigrants to a British passport, the answer is a resounding "NO". However, short-term visas for stays of up to six months are available, even for work purposes.

What's Pitcairn Island Climate like?

Average temperatures in summer range from 20 to 30 degrees centigrade, while winter temperatures can easily be as low as 17 degrees centigrade. Humidity is rather high all year round. Winter lasts from May to October, when roads can be a quagmire of mud, while in summer the island tends to be very dry and dusty. Not much different from living in London...just far fewer commuters queuing for buses and no traffic congestion to speak of.

As some intrepid tourists do come to the island every now and then, there are several luxury holiday apartments and houses for rent. Anyone interested in visiting first before making a life-changing relocation decision should contact the island's tourism department via the official website www.pitcairn.pn for a place to rent and for visa requirements. Pitcairn Island Tourism department can assist with finding private holiday accommodation with a local family, in self-catering apartments or houses.

How to get there?

Pitcairn Islands Government charters a passenger ship, the Claymore II, which carries people and supplies to the main island every three months. The above website also has details about the travel terms and conditions as well as timetables. Failing that, you could charter a yacht from Mangareva in the Gambier Islands. There's no airport. The official currency is New Zealand dollars.

For more information about relocating to Pitcairn and building a house there, please see http://www.immigration.pn/FAQ.php.

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