Two years ago, my girlfriend and I moved here. I just graduated from a masters architectural  program at the Royal Danish Academy specialising in extreme environments. Ella works at an Architecture firm, and starts her masters in software design this September. We both have EU passports, me through my grandparents who left Austria during WWII. Ella has Irish citizenship.

As part of my course I spent a month in Alaska and a month in the Atacama Desert. In Chile I tested different prototypes in an informal settlement community.

In lockdown I completed my thesis, the issues that I designed for became very relevant in a Covid-19 context. Informal settlement communities have no access to the common good resources; water, electricity and sanitation. It is no surprise these communities in South America are getting hit so badly right now.

I presented my final project the Friday before last. Two days ago I was offered a job at an international architecture firm. Copenhagen is an exciting place for design and architecture.

Prime Minister Mette appears to have a good relationship with Jacinda. Denmark has handled the virus pretty well, though it is summer and people are out enjoying the sunshine. Bars shut at midnight but  there are no restrictions on drinking in public places, so the party just moves outside. There are not so many New Zealanders here, during last year’s world cup we met most of them at one of the Irish pubs.

I was born in Wellington, where my parents and sister Maxine still live. After school, I took a gap year to work in London, then came back to Auckland Uni. We’re home at Christmas – fingers crossed. We want to see more of New Zealand, most people we meet overseas have seen more of our country than we have!

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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.

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.

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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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