Voices of the Kea community
Each month we talk to Kiwi all over the world and ask them a series of questions about the country they live in, what they miss about New Zealand and their aspirations and inspirations for the coming months. This month we meet Campbell Pritchard from San Francisco, Ruth Keeling Sobótka from Berlin, Rob Carruthers from Melbourne and Sam Chote from London.
What’s your name, and where do you live? Campbell Pritchard, San Francisco
How long have you lived offshore? 5 years.
What do you love most about San Francisco? I find the serendipity in this city incredible. You just end up meeting incredible people that are very good at their craft. I also love the proximity to nature and being in a world renowned city that a lot of people visit for tech. It gives a bit of credibility just being here.
If someone was coming to visit the area, what are two places you would recommend them to visit and why? I’d say get outdoors and drive south down the Californian coast and through Silicon Valley, it’s beautiful and historic. I’d also recommend the Lands End hike, you get an amazing view of the Golden Gate bridge and coastline.
What’s the best thing about being a Kiwi offshore? I think people respect Kiwi and we are well liked, so locals are always willing to connect and help. There’s also this huge advantage you have by connecting with other Kiwi that can help you.
What do you miss the most about New Zealand? It’s super peaceful, and the lifestyle is pretty great. I love the restaurants and the going out vibe. It’s actually really unique.
What do you think will be the significant issues or events which will command attention this year? I think the market is tough, there’s just not as much money around so it’s going to be about making great decisions with little resources because we likely all have less time and money. That’s something I’ve been reflecting on.
Finish this sentence “In 2023; the world needs more…..Connection. There’s so much happening in our lives and technology is moving so fast that we need to be careful we make time for the things that make us fulfilled.
What’s your name, and where are you living? Ruth Keeling Sobótka and I live in Berlin, Germany.
How long have you lived offshore? I left New Zealand in the year 2000, and have lived in Switzerland, Belgium, the United Kingdom, the United States (California) and Germany since then.
What do you love most about Berlin? We live right in the heart of a bustling, dirty European metropolis, with fascinating history, great restaurants, lots of cultural activities and a vibrant café-life, and yet we can still be swimming off our boat on the vast Wannsee lake in the Grünewald forest within a half hour of leaving home. Berlin is full of surprising contrasts and quirky personalities.
If someone was coming to visit the area, what are two places you would recommend them to visit and why? Eating smoked eel with schnapps in Bad Zwischenahn, and drinking Glühwein at the Christmas Markets anywhere in Germany.
What’s the best thing about being a Kiwi offshore? No one can pick your accent if you speak a language other than English. This frees you to connect with people directly and personally when you first meet them, without tripping over a lot of assumptions and prejudices about who you are as an individual.
What do you miss the most about New Zealand? The smell of autumn in Wanaka.
What do you think will be the significant issues or events which will command attention this year? From our family’s perspective, the war directly on Poland’s border in the Ukraine and the recovery of the German school system after Covid are the key issues being discussed daily around the kitchen table.
Finish this sentence “In 2023; the world needs more…..Kindness, courage, community, joined-up thinking – and more-affordable connecting flights to New Zealand!
What’s your name and where are you living right now? Rob Carruthers, Melbourne
How long have you lived offshore? About 11 years
What do you love most about Melbourne? It’s got a great food and culture scene, and we have a business that we have been running for 6 years now which keeps us here. It’s allowed us to develop a strong sense of community in the area which would be hard/sad to leave.
If someone was coming to visit the area what are two places you would recommend them visiting and why? For one evening, you’d start with a drink at Garden State bar, then dinner at Chin Chin, and finish with a cocktail at LongSong – all around the Melbourne CBD and Flinders lane; and then for a more nature based excursion, head out to the Surf Coast and Great Ocean Road to see what Victoria offers.
What’s the best thing about being a Kiwi offshore? There’s a certain recognition of having the capacity and determination to get things done, and then also a willingness to try new things.
What do you miss the most about New Zealand? I do love and miss that access to nature that is on offer. Mountains to lakes, beautiful beaches… it’s always hard to walk away from!
What do you think will be the big issues or events which will command attention this year? As a business owner, we’re very aware of the impact cost of living is having – firstly on the impact of our regular clients, and therefore flowing on to our staff and to us. Compounding this is the overarching issue of an unsustainable impact on the environment, and governments of all levels spending money they don’t have… it’s not a great outlook, have to keep a positive mindset and search for the good news, as it can be a bit bleak at times!
Finish this sentence “In 2023 the world needs more….. Compassion and less greed. Businesses need to be profitable, but not to the extent of nature and humanity. Governments need to be thinking beyond their parties stint to what future generations will have to deal with, more bipartisan action for the good of all people, not just their donors.
What’s your name, and where are you living right now? Samuel Chote, London
How long have you lived offshore? 10 Years Even! Time has flown
What do you love most about London? London is full of magic all year round, you can do as much or as little as you want to and there is no chance of running out of options. Outside of London, the rest of the UK is stunning, a never ending list of places to visit, 60 million people in a space smaller in NZ means there is so much to discover. The European summer for me still tops the charts, you just need to ignore a few of the Kiwi summer photos for a few weeks each year.
If someone was coming to visit the area, what are two places you would recommend them to visit and why? Kiwi’s are still running the game over here with some of the best cafe’s and restaurants in the big smoke, breakfast at Ozone is always tops and dinner at The Laundry in Brixton are great and for a weekend trip, walking the beach with a flattie and the dog or having a surf at Polzeath in North Cornwall is an annual trip for me. Really reminds me of home!
What’s the best thing about being a Kiwi offshore? Community – the support Kiwis, especially through KEA, give each other is unparalleled. There is something about paying it forward and giving another kiwi your time that is really unique. It always comes back around. The NZ community in the UK is a key reason we continually punch above our weight!
What do you miss the most about New Zealand? It would be great to be a little closer to my wider family and a proper beach but now we can travel again. I hope to get my NZ fix a little more often.
What do you think will be the significant issues or events which will command attention this year? Care for your family at home and your people at work. We have a tough start to the year looking at what is happening in the world but we can already see the green shoots of recovery for later in 2023. We need to keep this in mind and support each other, try to be patient, stay the course and come out even stronger.
Finish this sentence, In 2023; the world needs more…..Kindness and Empathy – looking at some of the mess going on in the world it’s easy to just start looking after yourself but more than ever the adage “it takes a village” rings true. I would normally say “be kind and look after yourself” but at the moment checking in on anyone in your sphere and giving your time to people will have a huge impact.