Our stories: Sophie Turner

Written by Amelia Murray.

Screenshot 2021 11 21 at 15.39.41Moving to London as a fresh 21 year old, Sophie describes having no fear and no idea. Determined to not make beans on toast a regular meal, she was quick to take control of her destiny, adapting to the fast pace of London and everything in between.

After graduating from Rangitoto College on Auckland's North Shore in 2012, Sophie left home to live and work in the United States as an au pair. With an itch to travel and explore the world further, she made what she describes as ‘the obvious choice’ and moved to London in 2016.

With every intention to stick with her first London gig as a live-in nanny, Sophie soon realised that living in a London flat with a bunch of kiwis was an experience she didn’t want to miss! This decision led her to look further afield, beyond nannying, as she undertook a number of admin roles within the corporate world, eventually landing a position as a medical secretary looking after 5-7 surgeons a week.

After two years as a medical secretary Sophie was ready for a new challenge. Her cousin Tess had been working for their auntie and uncle Paula and Bill Wallace, helping to build a UK presence for their New Zealand based luxury linen and homeware company, Wallace Cotton.

Our stories: Evie O'Brien

Written by Alice Peacock.

EviePacking her bags to move from Whakatane to Oxford to start her new job, Evie O’Brien found herself grappling with a bout of imposter syndrome.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would leave New Zealand, let alone move to Oxford. It's viewed as elite and for the world’s elite, so it felt like a bit of a dream.”

Evie, now the Executive Director of the Atlantic Institute: Rhode’s Trust, says it took “a bit of courage” to uproot the life that she loved, to move across the world by herself. Attempting to alleviate any homesickness, she packed artwork - pictures of her sacred ancestral mountains in the Bay of Plenty, and taonga, to hang on the walls of her new home.

But despite any feelings of unease, the reality was that Evie had been cherry-picked for the role. Her involvement with the Rhodes Institute began back when she was working at Te Whare Wānanga o Awanuiārangi, the Whakatane-based indigenous tertiary education provider, back in 2018 and was selected for the inaugural Atlantic Fellows Social Equity programme, based at the University of Melbourne.

Our stories: Sera Hathaway

Written by Amelia Murray.

Sera scarfFrom a young age, fashion was always high on Sera’s agenda, even when milking the cows was involved! Growing up on a large dairy farm in Reporoa, a small rural community in Rotorua Lakes, Sera made many of her own clothes, describing her style as ‘a little different’. She explains, “I loved the farm, I loved growing up on the farm, but I would spend hours watching fashion TV and sketching designs.”

Attending St Peters in Cambridge, where Sera was lead soprano, she excelled in music and art. However, without having a set career dream, Sera took a year out after school as an au pair in Switzerland before returning home to work in a designer boutique. It was this role which then led her to pursue her childhood passion, completing a certificate in Creative Arts and Design in Wellington, followed by a Diploma of Fashion Design through the Tauranga Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology.

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