Amy Suarez | |

Preppers - a new kind of tourism for Taupo
Residents of Taupo NZ are hoping to “lure…Americans” to settle there by building an off-grid community.

The government has already earmarked the spot for a “Biosphere of the 21st century” and it is home to the New Zealand Clean Energy Centre.
The proposed family-style homes would be heated via geothermal or biomass sources, and electricity supplied via solar or wind energy.
Wastewater would be drip irrigated to energy crops that would provide future fuel for the community. Water would be supplied via rainwater collection.
There will be wi-fi internet along with communal vegetable gardens and septic tanks.
“This is about attracting people who have disconnected from the world, so to speak, who need only their laptop and smartphone and can travel anywhere and still work,” said the centre’s CEO, Rob McEwan.
“Young, affluent Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are scouting around New Zealand at present looking for land,” Mr McEwan said.
“They are looking to get out of the US, live in a community with good water resources and establish a sustainable and ‘local’ lifestyle.” New Zealand could “easily” rise to be the No 1 choice for them, he said.
“We are politically neutral, almost 80 per cent of our electricity is generated from renewables, we have ample water and we are friendly to Americans.
“So then the question for Taupo becomes how can we lure them to our community?”.
The development would comprise half- acre sections and the actual houses would be simple designs that resemble any ordinary Waikato development.
“The large section would allow for things like large garden spaces, which could be private or shared, and septic tanks,” he said.
And how much would a slice of green living go for? “It is an unknown cost at this stage, but part of the vision is providing affordable housing.
“We would be looking at a range of homes, all under $500,000.” Owners would also have to pay about $60,000 for renewable energy technology add-on costs, he said.
Taupo mayor Rick Cooper was wary of the “grandiose plan”. “But the council does like to support drive and enthusiasm and dreams.”

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9 Responses to “Off-grid homes lure Americans to New Zealand”

  1. Steve

    I bet that’s 500k NZ$ and at historical exchange rates around US$250k … right now it’s 400kUS


    I would love to go to New Zealand but definitely a big price tag. I wonder if its cash only.

  3. Ivlia Vespasia

    And there I was thinking I could afford to move back to NZ to retire. Affordable and $500000 don’t belong in the same sentence for the majority of people.

  4. Deepblue

    Ahhh yes a nice little batch for the 1% of the 1%

  5. Girldawg1

    Friendly to Americans?? Oh yes, and I’ll bet particularly those yuppies with the deep pockets. Not anything in the reasonable realm for the average – and that comprises most of us. Alisa and Joe, I agree with both of you.

  6. joe

    “Young, affluent Silicon Valley entrepreneurs are scouting around New Zealand at present looking for land,” Mr McEwan said.

    great! the very people who are creating the technology that is poisoning the planet are looking for a nice little enclave where they can protect themselves from the fall-out of their profiteering while the rest of the world burns… typical american capitalist swine! “i gots mine, F–k the rest of yas!” (i’m an american, btw. and i USED to be a capitalist. when i was still very sick in the head, that is…)

  7. jason


  8. Mommy Alisa

    When you stated affordable in one breath and $500000 in the next you sounded like a windbag

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