We left Florida on the 6th of June and drove up here in two cars – 24 hours non-stop. We packed all our food, we didn’t even let our grandson use a public restroom. We’re now in Harwich Port on Cape Cod, we’re Florida residents but have a summer home here.

My son and his wife went back to New York on Sunday with their baby. They live on the 59th floor of a high rise, they left their six-year-old with us and my son will return soon. We’re very worried about the children and the socialization aspect. Covid is very real here, a colleague of my son died from it, he was only 55.

I was born at Wellington Hospital, we lived in Stokes Valley and I attended Hutt Valley High School. I started work for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was transferred to the embassy in Tokyo. That’s where I met my husband. We came to the US in 1985. My husband is American and I have dual citizenship. Our oldest was born in Japan, the other three here in the US.

My daughter works in Wellington and another son is at Victoria University. Our other two sons live here. My mother is in Waikane and not very well. My siblings are still in NZ and my grandchildren are all here. My children all speak as Americans, I think my daughter might stay in New Zealand but the rest of them will be here.

They have a drive-in movie theatre here and I took my grandson to see Jungle Book, I’d never been to a drive in before. We loved it. He’s half Chinese, I have to set up him up now for his language Zoom lesson in China.


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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