It was hailed as a preppers' paradise but it seems millionaire Peter Thiel has picked a different spot to see out the pandemic, as his 193-hectare Wanaka estate remains empty and neglected.

Despite having purchased the property about five years ago, the millionaire entrepreneur and early Facebook investor is yet to build on it.

Or, in fact, under it.

According to CNBC, Thiel's land, on the shores of Lake Wanaka, has been left neglected.


The US news outlet reports that the millionaire Trump donor, who gained New Zealand citizenship after a two-week holiday, has not filed any planning applications with Queenstown Lakes District Council to build on the Glendhu Bay plot.

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Local residents told CNBC nothing has happened with the property.

"I have heard nothing and nothing is evident when you drive past the property or bike past it along the lakeside," Wanaka-based Julian Haworth told the US outlet.

It doesn't seem to be completely forgotten, however. CNBC reports Thiel has been in touch with at least three New Zealand architecture companies with potential plans for the estate.

The companies, CNBC says, are Sumich Chaplin, Mason & Wales, and Fearon Hay.

READ MORE: Citizen Thiel

Thiel's love affair with New Zealand spans a couple of decades.


"I believe in New Zealand, and I believe the future of New Zealand's technology industry is still underrated. I look forward to helping it succeed long term," he once said.

The millionaire venture capitalist first visited the country in 1995 when he was 28. Immigration documents show he first applied for an investor visa in March 2003, then again in 2005.

He was granted citizenship in 2011, despite having only spent 12 days in the country.

His $13.5m purchase of a 193-hectare section on the shores of Lake Wanaka brought Thiel's citizenship to notice as his new status meant the deal did not require Overseas Investment Office approval.

The secretive US data-mining firm Palantir, which he founded, has had talks with the New Zealand Government about combating Covid-19.

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Palantir has worked for spy agencies in the United States and New Zealand.