Hollywood director James Cameron says he wants his children to grow up close to the land and with a strong work ethic when they make the move to South Wairarapa.

The Avatar and Titanic director has bought two farms in the South Wairarapa with his three children and wife.

Land Information New Zealand documents show sales have been approved by the Overseas Investment Office for two blocks, of 817ha and 248ha at Western Lake Rd.

The land was sold to Anglin Classics, a firm owned by Cameron.


In a statement, Cameron said the family was thrilled to be making a new home in New Zealand.

"I grew up working on my grandfather's farm in Canada, and my wife Suzy's family owns a farm in Oklahoma. We want to raise our kids with the values we had when we were growing up, close to the land and with a strong work ethic."

The purchase of the land is believed to have cost $20 million.

The sales were brokered by Bayleys, which has a confidentiality agreement with the vendors and the buyer that prevents discussion of the transaction.

Cameron intended to reside indefinitely in New Zealand according to his application, and would live at the property, which he would work as a farm.

The land deal has stoked political debate and comes only days after the sale of Crafar farms to Chinese interests.

But the land deal has stoked political debate and comes only days after the sale of Crafar farms to Chinese interests.

New Zealand First leader Winston Peters criticised the decision as typical of the "stupidity" of the Government and the "rubber-stamp merchants" at the OIO.


"If [the applicant] was bringing some expertise to expand this country's export wealth, particularly if it was land to be developed, or better utilised, that would be a different matter.

"But what is the new investment here? It's just a land purchase," said Mr Peters.

Labour said it approved of Cameron's purchase as long as he intended to stand by his statement to live here indefinitely.

However, party leader David Shearer told TV3 New Zealanders "do not want to be sharemilkers on foreign owned land".

"It doesn't matter whether [buyers] are James Cameron or Chinese," Mr Shearer said.

But Federated Farmers president Bruce Wills backed the application and said the Cameron family would be farming the land, and his organisation would be pleased to have them as members.


"There's much we'll be able to do in helping them settle into the Wairarapa and into farming.

"I also think the global attention this will bring to New Zealand farming, especially to sheep and beef, will be extremely positive."

Prime Minister John Key said the legislation was "about right", but he would strengthen the law if he thought too much New Zealand land was being sold.

Cameron joins a growing list of Hollywood heavyweights who call Wairarapa home.

Sir Peter Jackson and Fran Walsh live in a multimillion-dollar estate on the edge of Masterton.

Filmmaker, author and artist Vincent Ward owns a home in Greytown.