“I was born in Kerela, India and moved to Singapore in my 20s; my husband comes from there. We wanted to try a different life, without the rush, so we moved to New Zealand. I had lived in both the North and South Islands working as a dentist, and then I was offered a job in Carterton.

“The first time I came to Wairarapa I arrived by train. Once the train came out of the tunnel, I couldn’t believe it – it was so beautiful. On that first day here, my boss [Manji’s former employer in Carterton, Manji opened Greytown Dental last year] shouted me lunch at Clareville Bakery. I had the Parkvale mushrooms and I was sold.

“One of the best places here is Castlepoint. The hike up the rock on a beautiful day, looking at the sea – that’s one of my favourites places in the world actually.

“We’ve been here five years. We live on the edge of Carterton. We’ve got chooks, fruit trees, strawberries and raspberries. We just planted a persimmon. My husband is a city boy, but he’s done well – he planted garlic and it’s lasted us almost a year!

“It’s the small things – I wanted to be able to step outside and feel the grass under my feet. Another thing I like about this place is the weather doesn’t matter; you still go out and walk the dog, rain or shine. You don’t need to wait until it’s dark and it’s cooler so you can go out.

“I miss two things. Family and friends, of course, are number one, and the second is the food.

“My roots in India are from a small place like Greytown. I wanted my kids to be able to enjoy that slower pace of life. I like the fact that people have time for each other here.”

Story by Jenny Williams
Photo by Rebecca Kempton