Matt and I were in a dorm together, now we share a flat. We did have an American room-mate but she went home when this kicked in.  We have a pretty similar sense of humour.

I’ve been here 4 years  and have just graduated in Architecture. I’m here on a sports scholarship – on the men’s squash team. Before lockdown we were both lucky enough to finish our seasons and effectively our careers.

I was born in Auckland and we moved to Tauranga when I was four, all my schooling was there, I was at Tauranga Boys. Mum and Dad have moved to the Mount now, one brother is there and the other two are in Melbourne

At the beginning of March, things were starting to get uncertain. During Spring Break there was an announcement that all classes would be on-line and there would be no ceremony for graduation. I found myself working harder than I would have, for me it was less stressful being locked away in the apartment.

We’re three or four blocks from the White House.  We can’t hide from it. It’s basically like corona virus doesn’t exist anymore. It’s been crazy, I’ve never seen anything like it.


The ceiling has been shaking because there’s been a blacked out military helicopter flying just overhead every fifteen minutes. It’s like we’re preparing for a war. I was with the protest bunch for about an hour just before curfew. It was powerful being immersed in that many people that care about the cause.

I came a year earlier and just graduated with a BSc in Engineering. I’m on the Water Polo team, like Jamie, I played club and in a national team and we got recruited by George Washington University.

With Covid no-one knew what to do at the start. The higher leadership didn’t lay down really strict limitations and left it to the states to decide. I think Mayor Bowser in DC handled it pretty well, she issued a stay at home order which clarified things. With lockdown the challenge I had was I was out of routine and found focus more difficult.

I was born in England and at 4 moved to Auckland, I went to Rangitoto College. Mum and Dad are still there and my sister lives in the city.

My parents freaked out a bit when the protests started, but it’s reassuring having another Kiwi here.

*****************************************************************************************************************************************Image supplied by interviewees, Matt to the left, Jamie to the right

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 now.

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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