I’m in Riyadh, the capital. This time I’ve been here for 2 years, I was also in Saudi Arabia during 2012/13. I’m the in-Kingdom President for a global engineering and construction company. We haven’t lived in NZ for twenty years and I’ve no idea where we’ll go next. I’ve also worked in London, Romania, Perth, Brisbane, Chile and Dubai.

My wife is in quarantine in Auckland, she left last week on a repatriation flight for the school holidays. I’m used to being abandoned for the kids. We have a daughter in New York, another at University and our son is in his final years of boarding school.

I was born in Otago but grew up in Mangere. I studied quantity surveying at Carrington Polytechnic, now UNITEC, then worked for Fletchers and ASPEC for fifteen years before moving overseas.

Working with colleagues here and overseas over the last few months, all from home, we bid, negotiated and were awarded a half a billion USD services role here, demonstrating what can be done remotely. We’re also working in a consortium to build part of the new USD20 billion metro in Riyadh.

I’m in a very nice villa, part of a 600 dwelling secure compound with fantastic facilities. We couldn’t use the pools or gyms for a while so we were walking around the 3 km perimeter every morning and evening. We didn’t leave the compound for nearly three months.

I was privileged to meet the Crown Prince the week before the Christchurch Massacre and had a follow up meeting with one of his senior ministers the Friday after. The Minister was incredibly moved by New Zealand’s response. He was blown away by the compassion that was shown and asked that I passed on my thanks to all that I could.

ShaneandWifeSaudi

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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 now and also available in Australia. It will be available elsewhere in the world from August.

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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