Tuesday, October 29, 2013

You Can Move to Pitcairn Island

Pitcairn Island Dock
Photo by Jens Bludau
On April 28, 1789, the crew of the HMS Bounty mutinied for reasons that are debated to this day. Some say it was harsh treatment by Captain Bligh; others claim it was debauched sailors attracted to the sexually liberal lifestyle of Polynesia. Whatever the cause, the mutineers split and some settled in Tahiti, while others settled on Pitcairn Island, perhaps the most remote settlement in the world. Today, over two centuries later, the descendants of the original mutineers still live there and they have a problem. With a rapidly declining population, they want you to move there.

From their immigration page:
Pitcairn Island, situated in the South Pacific Ocean, is one of the most remote islands in the world.
With an ageing population of around 50 people, this British Overseas Territory is seeking suitably qualified individuals and families who would enjoy the challenge of helping to build a vibrant and sustainable future in this far-flung settlement.
If you think you may have what it takes to participate in this programme of development in this unique environment, please read the "Frequently Asked Questions" and then feel free to register your interest with our immigration department in the form below, or contact us at immigration@pitcairn.gov.pn.
Before you go rushing off, there are a few things to consider.


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First, the factual.
  • You'll need proof of NZ$30,000 in funds (~$25,000 US or €18,000).
  • No special skills or education required.
  • All homes have internet, but there are bandwidth caps.
  • Land is free (!), but you'll have to build your own home.
  • There are only 54 people living on the island.
  • There is one "General Store".
  • You will not be eligible for a British passport.

The cost of building a 160 square meter (~1,700 square feet) home is estimated to be NZ$150,000 (~$124,000 US, or €90,000).

If you want more information, read their Pitcairn Immigration FAQ.

Next, here's a curious item in their FAQ:
Can I bring my children to settle on Pitcairn?
There are currently separate procedures in place regarding visits and settlement by children under 16 years of age. If you wish to apply on behalf of a child you will need to contact the Deputy Governor's Office in New Zealand.
Bounty Bay, Pitcairn Island
Photo by Makemake at de.wikipedia
Now I suppose it's not too surprising that the government would not want this decision to be taken lightly for children, but it's possible that there's another motivation here. In 2004, seven men on the island were arrested and charged with sexually abusing the children on the island. If Pitcairn interests you at all, I strongly suggest you read that story because it's far more complicated than one might think. Pitcairn is an isolated island, there's not much to do and like all societies, they've developed their own culture. Also, here's a long NPR piece on Pitcairn.

It's a rare opportunity to do something like this, but it's also probably not something that most would be interested in. However, for a small amount of money, you can escape to this remote getaway and start a new life.

You can read more about Pitcairn at the Pitcairn Island official Web site. You also might find Big Flower interesting. This is a couple who moved to Pitcairn in 2005 and now have a Web site where they provide more information. And if the plan of a few billionaires goes into effect, Pitcairn could soon be the site of the world's largest Marine Protected Area.