British writer and actor Richard O Brien has won the right to retire to New Zealand after immigration officials overturned a previous ruling banning him from obtaining residency.
The 68-year-old creator of cult movie and stage spectacular The Rocky Horror Picture Show filed an application for permanent residency earlier this year (10), claiming he wished to live out his remaining years in the country he spent half of his childhood in. He moved to New Zealand with his family in 1952 and returned to his native U.K. 12 years later, when he was 21.
His request was denied by New Zealand authorities in June (10) because he failed to meet the strict entry requirements, but officials have now reversed the ruling following an online protest by fans on social networking site Facebook.com, which saw more than 3,500 people throw their support behind O'Brien's cause.
Confirming the good news, his immigration adviser Dion Smart tells the AFP, "They've given him residency. His passport will be stamped this week."
O'Brien will be warmly received when he does finally relocate to New Zealand - his brother and sister still live in the town of Tauranga and his son Josh has also applied for residency after visiting the country on a student visa.