We’ve lived in Harlem for just over 4 years. My husband and I both work for Unicef, I’m a lawyer. We were in Geneva before this for eight years, before that the States, The Maldives and then The States again.

Currently I’m looking out on Frederick Douglass Boulevard, there is still no indoor dining so they’ve closed the streets for outside seating. We’ve been working from home from early March, it’s seems like forever.

It was an absolute nightmare, home schooling and working. I called my boss at one point and said I just can’t do this. My husband was flat on his back for three weeks with Covid, I had aches and pains, luckily the children were relatively unscathed. That’s why New York has been good about masks because no-one wants to go back into lockdown. One good thing about the city is that they kept the parks open. The takeaway delivery guys were working 24/7. They were saviours.

Kate is 18, Ari is 16 and Jonty is 10. I’ve been told that my propaganda job has been excellent. Despite having never lived in, or been born in New Zealand they identify as New Zealanders. Rather than the US, Kate has decided on Auckland for university, Covid has strengthened the attraction.

I was born in Dunedin and grew up in Christchurch. I studied law in Canterbury and then worked as a lawyer. I met my American husband in Auckland and we moved to the US for him to work for the UN.

One day, absolutely we will move home and when we do it will unquestionably be Auckland. It’s not utopia but it has little bits of everything we love. I have a good friend who also lives overseas and has no desire to go home – I don’t understand that.



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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