|Stewart Island [New Zealand, 2012]|
This ticket for the ferry to
Ulva Island - a bird sanctuary a short hop across Paterson Inlet from the
capital, Oban - is more than a mere gimmick. The leaves of muttonbird
scrub (a shrub also known as puheretaiko) were used as writing paper by
Stewart Island's early European settlers and, until regulations caught up
with the leaf a few decades ago, could be used as postcards.
Ulva Island, by the way, is where I saw my first kiwi in the wild. It was just mooching around on one of the island's many walking tracks at 11am; clearly no one has told the Stewart Island kiwi they are supposed to be a nocturnal species. The island is home to many other rare birds such as the saddleback (tieke), tomtit (ngeru-ngeru) and New Zealand parakeet (kakariki).