I’m living with my husband and his family. I’ve been here since 2017. Covid is not as bad here as in other areas, though there is a lot of fear.

In February I went home, my mother had dementia for many years and she was in hospital. We had two weeks with her before she passed on the 29th February.

I was born in Auckland and the family moved north in the ‘80’s. Both my parents are Maori. When I left school in Whangarei I got a job in hospitality. I’ve worked in health care and youth sector too. We moved to Hamilton and then moved around to follow the work, before coming here I was working in the Kiwifruit Industry.

My husband came to Auckland on a study visa, we met through a friend of his in 2014. We had a lot of drama with Immigration New Zealand, we spent thousands on lawyers and still had to leave at the end of 2017.

We got married in Hamilton in July 2016 and we had to get married again here too. We weren’t even allowed to sleep together until we had.

My husband is a Sikh and it’s taken a while to get used to the cultural and religious side. I am learning Punjabi but they talk so fast I find it difficult to keep up. The food here is nothing like I’ve ever tasted, it’s spicy and delicious.

I sometimes ask myself whether it’s been worth it – but it has. It’s not about the visa issues anymore – it’s about living life and wherever that takes me. I’ve been fortunate to have what I have in life. It doesn’t matter where you are, there is always beauty.

We’re planning to come back to New Zealand, that’s our goal.

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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.

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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