There’s a Reason People Won’t Move to Pitcairn Island, But Maybe You Should

by Owen James Burke


Photo: Tony Probst/Mercury Press

Pitcairn Island is a two-square-mile rock 3,000 miles off the coast of New Zealand. Before World War II the population was at a peak height of 200. Now less than 50 people live there. Most are descendants of Fletcher Christian, the leader of the infamous 1789 Mutiny on the HMS Bounty. They have Internet, they have satellite TV, and the government is offering up free plots to anyone willing to build and settle on them.

Despite many recent inquiries, only one person has put in an application to move to Pitcairn Island. Here’s why you should be the next.

Pitcairn’s had its fair share of problems; indeed, its western occupation was founded upon them. Originally believed to have been settled by Polynesians whose population went extinct, the Bounty mutineers arrived with 18 Polynesian slaves. Hence, the place was built from oppression. Along with such a small population often comes inbreeding, and in 2004, the island experienced a devastating child abuse scandal involving over one-tenth of the inhabitants. Even the mayor, Steve Christian, of Fletcher Christian legacy, was convicted for sexual offenses.


These stamps used to be a main source of island’s livelihood. Photo via Adventures for Anyone

Still, if you’re good at keeping to yourself and feel thrifty enough to build up your own batch, there may be no better place to live. Since the drop in popularity of stamp collecting, upon which the islanders used to subsist, there haven’t been many — or perhaps any — jobs on the island, but it has recently received a boost in Internet bandwidth, which could open up some opportunities for online commerce. Having a trust fund would help too.


The island’s oft treacherous tiny port. I’d be wary of passing through there even with my 16-foot skiff. Photo via Adventures for Anyone

Pitcairn can only be reached by sea, and receives shipments three days a week from New Zealand. There’s a general store which is open just three days a week as well, but if you have reclusive tendencies, enjoy diving, seeking out untouched beauty and living off the sea, you could do pretty well for yourself. Just be sure to bring a mate, or two. — OJB

Required reading:


A Narrative of the Mutiny, On Board His Majesty’s Ship Bounty


Voyage to the South Seas

Read more about why you may or may not want to relocate (or just visit) Pitcairn Island at The Telegraph — OJB

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