I left NZ as a young man, as it had been raining for two years, and did my Jack Kerouac round-the-world thing. I arrived back home three years later, it was still raining so in 1978 I left NZ again, this time on a sailing boat bound for New Calédonia. I’ve spent more time here than in NZ which has created an identity issue.

However, I’m still a New Zealander and will be forever. I grew up and went to school in Whangarei and always like the arts and was off to Elam, but it didn’t quite work out. We still have a place over there, and we were supposed to be there now planting fruit trees, but along came COVID 19. We went into lockdown quite early and because of that and our insularity, we’ve come through relatively unscathed, whereas in France, to which we’re umbilically connected, it’s a different kettle of fish.

I’ve always floated around on boats and enjoyed photography. In 1984 I set up a photography and publishing business Footprint Pacifique. I’m not sure how much of the business is tourism based – I guess I’m about to find out. I don’t see tourism starting up again for a long time. We were planning on 1 million cruise ship visitors by 2025 – that won’t happen now.

I enjoy blue skies just about every day here and even at this time of year you can swim in the lagoon without getting cold. I’m not too keen on cyclones. My wife is from France and our son and his family are living here as well – it’s a bit of a Tale of Two Cities and cultural differences can be tricky. I’m not retired, just tired. If someone over there wants to move into a ready-made business – here are the keys.

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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” 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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