Expat life


We’re sitting on this hill when Alex starts smiling at a couple walking past. The woman smiles back. The man takes a couple of steps towards us, bending down to say something to Alex I reckon. Except he pauses for a second longer than I expect and then speaks to me instead.

Fern & Rose meets:

“They didn’t write it off and say ‘ok, you can go’. They took the time to listen.”

When it comes to flexible working, opportunities can sometimes feel few and far between. There’s all too often tension between employers and employees, with new parents in particular feeling torn between their careers and their families. But what about when it goes well? Wellington-based lawyer Louisa Gommans has a flexible working good news story – and it all began with a single conversation.

Fern & Rose meets:

“At the end of the day, everyone just wants what’s best”

Michaela Harris is mum to two-year-old Hazel and a PhD student at Victoria University of Wellington. Her research focuses on breast and formula feeding, an often-controversial topic. She talks about the challenges of applying global recommendations to a local context and what parents and medical professionals are telling her about feeding babies in New Zealand.

Fern & Rose meets:

“I’m really privileged that I’ve been able to be home for so much”

Since leaving music school a decade ago, musician and photographer Hayden Hockly has worked a flexible week – which came in pretty handy when his son Ambrose was born. He talks about working from home, launching his photography business and fitting work around parenting and family life.

Family · Fern & Rose meets:

I asked my husband how I’m doing as a mum

Matthew Berry is a software engineer in Wellington. He’s also Mr Fern & Rose and dad to our daughter Alexandra. He talked to me about the flexibility his work offers, feeling like my support team in the Tour de France of parenting, and what he thinks of my mum skills. It’s fair to say he thought this might be a trap of some kind; he was a little nervous at the start of our conversation …