I’m half Russian, half Kiwi, though I was born in the UK. We were supposed to live in New Zealand but then my Russian Grandfather got sick. We went to be with him and it turned into eighteen years.

I will be going to New Zealand to go to university in January. My family is in Napier and we have come back a lot, we’re always there for at least a month. It’s always been my dream to come to New Zealand and I don’t think the thought of me being there has sunk in with my parents. I hope that they’ll move there too.

We live in the countryside just outside Moscow. Lots of my friends are going to parties; universities and schools are now open. It’s a bit scary, a bit too relaxed, there are people here that think the virus is a hoax.

I’m a model so I usually do lot of castings and photoshoots especially in the summer. Because of Covid, Moscow Fashion week was cancelled. Things have started up again but I’m a bit scared.

I have been reading more than usual, I prefer reading in English to Russian. Dad’s bilingual too but we speak English together, I speak Russian to my mother. It becomes a bit awkward when we’re all talking.

My Kiwi grandfather lives in Napier, so does an aunt and some cousins. I think I’ll go to Auckland because it’s a big city. When I went to Wellington it was raining and it wasn’t very nice.

In 1987 my grandfather was the Russian ambassador in Wellington. Mum finished university and flew over and got a job at the same dairy company my dad worked at. It was a bit controversial. Russians weren’t supposed to date foreigners, they couldn’t even hold hands in public.



Image supplied by interviewee

This interview and the others in the series are an extension of my new book “This Is Us” it is in all good bookshops in New Zealand and also available in Australia. It will be available elsewhere in the world from August.

Amazon UK here.

Amazon US here

Through the publisher here

This Is Us – the diaspora in lockdown – these interviews are slightly different from the ones in the book as they focus on New Zealanders living abroad in this time of isolation.  Copyright Licensing have awarded me a grant to complete this project and convert these postings into a book.

If you can think of suitable interview subjects please let me know via pete@petecarter.nz – I currently need interviews in the more unusual places around the world.

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


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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