Where I grew-up I could hear the waves from my bedroom. I was born in Auckland and when I was four, moved to Island Bay, I lived there until I came here. It is such a beautiful neighbourhood, Mum and Dad are still there and I have an older sister in Melbourne.

I completed my undergraduate and Masters at the NZ School of Music and was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship in 2015 to complete a PHD in Music.

My partner Emily and I moved in together a year ago. We now have a beautiful two-bedroom apartment with a porch and a balcony. Before this, we were in a studio apartment with no outdoor space.

I have many chronic illnesses which result in having a compromised immune system. Having a respiratory virus literally in the air is a very real danger to me.

There is a sense of solidarity under lockdown, today is day 67. As it opens up the disparity between those that are enjoying their freedom and people like myself will show up. To me I’m anticipating much of the same, staying in the apartment and taking my service dog for short walks around the block.

I was matched with Connie in 2014 in Wellington, we joke that if she barked it would be in a Kiwi accent – but she never barks. She’s a Labrador retriever trained through Assistance Dogs New Zealand, she was a crucial part of me being able to move here, before that I was breaking bones multiple times, I’d walk into things and fall over. My world felt very small.

Emily and I are getting married in September in Virginia. It’s tough at the moment, I know my parents won’t be there to walk me down the aisle. Home right now feels very far away.


Photo by Tuan Bui

This interview and the others in the series are an extension of my new book “This Is Us” that will be published by Exisle and released on the 1st of June 2020. These interviews are slightly different from the ones in the book as they focus on New Zealanders living abroad in this time of isolation. If you can think of suitable interview subjects please let me know via pete@petecarter.nz .

Exisle have now released This Is Us as an e-book you can buy it here.

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Pete Carter is the author of This is Us. Due out in June 2020 it will be published by Exisle and tells the story of more than 200 New Zealanders in words and pictures. The book is really a portrait of the nation and how it is made up. Pete wrote Our Dog Benji a children’s book illustrated by his nephew, published by EK in 2017. He is also the author of two books of poetry. He has had magazine articles published and poetry in anthologies. As a photographer he has had two solo exhibitions and work included in group exhibitions in NZ and overseas and has sold work to and been commissioned by corporate clients.

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