INTERNATIONAL – In recent months, two 150-ton survival bunkers journeyed by land and sea from a Texas warehouse to the shores of New Zealand, where they’re buried 11 feet underground.
Seven Silicon Valley entrepreneurs have purchased bunkers from Rising S and planted them in New Zealand in the past two years, said Gary Lynch, the manufacturer’s general manager.
At the first sign of an apocalypse – nuclear war, a killer germ, a French Revolution-style uprising targeting the 1 percent – the Californians planned to hop on a private jet and hunker down, he said.
“New Zealand is an enemy of no one,” Lynch said. “It’s not a nuclear target. It’s not a target for war. It’s a place where people seek refuge.”
The remote island nation has a reputation for natural beauty, easy networking, low-key politicians who bike to work, and rental prices half those of the San Francisco Bay Area. That makes it an increasingly popular destination not only for those fretting about impending dystopia, but for tech entrepreneurs seeking incubators for nurturing startups.
“It’s become one of the places for people in Silicon Valley, mostly because it’s not like Silicon Valley at all,” said Reggie Luedtke, an American biomedical engineer.
Luedtke said people in California had asked him if he’s relocating as part of a doomsday contingency plan, because “that’s what the country is known for”.
Such notoriety has made New Zealand’s isolation, once deemed an economic handicap, one of its biggest assets. The nation allows emigres to essentially buy residency through investor visas, and rich Americans have poured a fortune into the country, often by acquiring palatial estates.