Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Meet the People - 5

Another in the Series Meet the People – Contemporary Maori Doing Ordinary and Extraordinary Things – Ulva Goodwillie (Waitaha, Ngati Mamoe) is passionate about birds and in the nine years since she started taking guided walks to Ulva Island Bird Sanctuary just off Stewart Island, she’s given thousands of people a better understanding of our native birds and their conservation. Her mother named her after Ulva Island; and after fourteen years away from Stewart Island, Ulva was drawn back to the place she loved best. Her successful tourism operation is a long way from her former career as a music teacher – or so you’d think; but for Ulva, birds have a magical music all of their own.

All Photos on Ulva Island. Feb 2009. Ajr
She knows every inch of Ulva Island and the particular sound of every bird that lives there. Just by their call she knows if they are male, female, chicks or adults – and she’s just as knowledgeable about the native flora. She knows both their Maori and Latin names and she can tell you how certain plants and trees were used by Maori in the early days. “I am Maori and I operate from a Maori perspective but my walks are not Maori tours as such. My tours are about the lifestyles of the birds not the lifestyles of Maori. Most people are interested in botanical and zoological aspects but if people are interested in the Maori stories and legends of the birds and forest, I can also add those,” she says. It’s the perfect combination and sharing her passion for natural history is what excites her the most. www.ulva.co.nz

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