Rich American became New Zealand citizen

American billionaire, Peter Thiel, became a New Zealand citizen in 2011 after spending only 12 days in New Zealand. To become a New Zealand citizen, usually a migrant has to wait for five years after being granted Permanent Residence. However, Mr Thiel was granted citizenship under a special category of “exceptional circumstances”. The Minister for Internal Affairs at the time was Nathan Guy and he said it was a good decision because Mr Thiel can promote New Zealand internationally. He could help provide contacts for New Zealanders in Silicon Valley. He gave a $1m donation to help the Christchurch rebuild after the earthquakes.

Who is Peter Thiel? Mr Thiel is close to President Donald Trump and supported Trump’s election campaign. He is an investor who is worth US$2.7bn. He made money as co-founder of Pay Pal and then he was the first outside investor in Facebook. He has invested in New Zealand companies too. Then in 2015, he bought a very large farm – 193ha – on the shores of Lake Wanaka. Overseas buyers of New Zealand farms have to gain permission through the Overseas Investment Office but he was a New Zealand citizen so that was not necessary.


• exceptional – unusual, extraordinary
• ha – hectares; 1 hectare is 10,000 sq metres

One Comments

  1. Another Peter. Peter Blake been showed on tv may times since Peter Berling won America cup. And his boat Tara returned Auckland today. Could you talk about this? Thanks

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