I moved out of my flat in New York in February just before I went back to NZ for a wedding. It was fortuitous timing, I’ve now been with my parents in Whitehouse Station since March the 9th. We are in restricted lockdown, parks, golf courses, supermarkets and of course gun shops are open. The state is the second worst hit after NY in terms of deaths and cases.

I have a lung condition called pulmonary hypertension so I’m in total lockdown. I’m not allowed to be around other people. When I was three I was diagnosed with Eisenmenger’s syndrome, I was born with a large hole in my heart.

Dad’s job transferred us here when we were young, before that we were in Howick. The last time I spent any time in New Zealand I did an internship in Invercargill and stayed with my maternal grandmother. Dad’s parents are in Feilding, he hopes to see them in September.

It’s hard to know how long we’ll be in lockdown, maybe till Christmas. The risk is just too great to use public transport and then be around people. I work for Macquarie Bank, the company has been great, but my directors have been fantastic, they said straightaway, your health is more important, just stay at home.

Mum, dad and I each work on a different floor, at the end of the day we’re good at getting together and getting offline. I’m doing stuff that I haven’t made time for before like learning how to bake gluten free bread. I’m also working with the Pulmonary Hypertension Association helping to raise awareness.

This weekend is the first time I’ve felt the loneliness aspect.  This could go on for a long time, it’s going to be massive.


Bekah’s Pulmonary Hypertension Instagram is here.

Images supplied by interviewee

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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