We came here 11 years ago for a holiday and just loved it so much we just thought, why don’t we come back and live here. I grew up in Auckland and all my schooling was there. Apart from Auckland I lived in Britain for four years and then went home from the mid 90’s till 2010 when we moved here.

Up until I got back home from the UK I’d just worked in offices but then I changed direction. I studied horticulture and I’ve been a gardener ever since. The job market wasn’t flash when we arrived. I do like the size of Hobart as a capital city – its manageable getting around.

My dad died in 1991 and after my mum died, I packed up the family home, that’s when we came here. I did have an older brother in Canada, but he died two years ago. My partner Rachael is from Christchurch and her Mum is still there.

My workplace has operated and I’ve been working throughout, but Rachael has been laid off. She works for a company operating cruises on the east coast, they’re confident they’ll be back operating in October. The hardship is that she doesn’t qualify for JobKeeper because she hasn’t been in the role for long enough. It’s been tough in that sector. Back in the day Tasmania was The Apple Island but the economy is now much more dependent on tourism.

The nights are getting pretty long here now. We’ve been watching Netflix and we both went to the library just before lockdown and got a lot of books out.

If there is an Australasian bubble, they’re talking about a direct Hobart to Auckland flight, Rachael is looking forward to that, so she can go and see her mum.

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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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