Maybe it’s the appeal of living in a place whose rolling green hills and sparkling waters inspired the mythical landscapes of 'The Lord of the Rings'. Perhaps it’s simply the allure of replacing one’s Trump-loving neighbors with twice as many sheep.
Whatever it is that’s inspiring Americans to seek fresh new starts in New Zealand, it’s working like never before.
The Associated Press reports that the number of Americans who applied for a grant of citizenship from New Zealand’s Department of Internal Affairs in the 12 weeks after the U.S. election rose 70 percent from the year before, going from 100 applications to 170.
For Americans with parents from New Zealand, applications rose from 183 to 203, while work-visa arrivals from America rose 216 to 254 in the last year.
The department has also reported that just two days after the U.S. election, a total of 4,146 Americans visited their website to learn about citizenship, up from the 305 who did so the year before.
“It’s an extremely livable place,” Alanna Irving, an entrepreneur who moved to the country several years ago, told AP.
“You can see and palpably feel the difference in how society is organized, and what people prioritize.”
That, and the number of sheep living in New Zealand still outnumber its human residents, which might be a welcome change of pace.