Picture of Carlee by a snow mobile in CanadaCarlee is the current team leader of the Authentication Unit, which works very closely with the Translation Service. After about 8 years at the helm of the unit – she’s very vague about the number of years she spent here, she has developed a one-person office into a three-women show, and raised the unit’s profile on the international stage – the Authentication Unit has been invited to attend a conference in Uruguay in October for instance. She’s now decided to take one year off to pursue other interests and will soon be volunteering for the Department of Conservation on an island up north, before going back to school to find out all the ins and outs of museum information management. We will all greatly miss her laughter and high spirits, but wish her all the best in her environmental and museological endeavours.

Luckily, she’s kindly agreed to answer our questions before she leaves. You can also find out more about the Authentication Unit in her interview.

Q: What is your idea of perfect happiness?

A: Living in a tiny eco kitset house filled with books, on a tiny piece of land somewhere up north, and reading in the sunshine.

Q: What is your greatest fear?

A: Oh, so many. Heights, planes, a lifetime of unrequited love, rising oceans and climate change, just to name a few.

Q: Which person do you most admire?

A: I admire Peter Singer, the Australian philosopher who started the Life You Can Save movement.

Q: What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

A: Self-consciousness.

Q: What is the trait you most deplore in others?

A: I dislike negative people.

Q: What is your greatest extravagance?

A: Straight out of university I purchased a $200 ‘laminated’ denim jacket. I had never owned such a shiny or expensive garment. Since then most of my money has gone towards trips overseas. I spent hundreds of dollars to see polar bears in Churchill, Manitoba, on the spur of the moment.

Q: On what occasions do you lie?

A: I’m dropping lies all the time! To make friends feel better about decisions they have made, people they have married, books they have read, clothes they are wearing, etc. Just the usual social lies. And especially in restaurants. No matter how average or even bad the meal I was, I say it was good.

Q: What makes you happiest?

A: Exploring new places. I won’t say travelling as I hate the actual travelling involved. I want to be teleported to places.

Q: If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?

A: I would like to be really good at one thing, instead of mediocre at lots of things. I regret not becoming really great at rollerblading, or playing soccer, or running.

Q:What do you consider your greatest achievement?

A: Work-wise this is easy to answer – turning a small one person office in an insignificant country into a world leader in the field of issuing Apostilles. I hope my greatest personal achievement is still to come!

Q: If you died and came back as a person or thing, what would it be?

A: One of the early female explorers, like Isabelle Eberhardt or Isabella Bird or Nellie Bly. Or perhaps as the fictional character Miss Fisher – independently wealthy lady detective.

Q: What is your most treasured possession?

A: My books.

Q: Who are your heroes in real life?

A: I aspire to be like people who live simply and slowly, and spend a lot of time involved in their communities.

Q: What is it that you most dislike?

A: I dislike a thousand things! Right now I particularly dislike the lazy and superficial info-tainment website Stuff. Wellington deserves better.

Q: What is your motto?

A: I wish I lived by a motto. I am sure my life would be different if I did.

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