Since Greer Paterson moved to the Chatham Islands two years ago, she has learned how to shuck kina, thrives on the hunting and has eaten more seafood in the past year than she had done in her entire life.
Coming from a sixth generation shearing and farming Roxburgh family, she teaches at both Te One School, which has a roll of about 50 children, and the Pitt Island School, with 10 pupils.
The islands have about 600 permanent residents, most of whom earn their living fishing, farming, through tourism, or with the Department of Conservation.
‘‘I never thought I would end up living somewhere like the Chatham Islands.
‘‘It’s a world apart from Central Otago.
‘‘Living here definitely has its challenges, but we just get on with it because we love living here.’’
Her pupils were ‘‘hard case’’ and tried to catch weka and pigs on the way to school.
‘‘They are super hearty, tough, country [or island] kids.’’
Partner Kenny Dix is a fencing contractor and mechanic.
When not at school Miss Paterson helps with larger fencing jobs and last summer worked in shearing sheds.
‘‘Most people are involved in fishing in some way and even I have done a few shifts in the factory shucking kina.’’
The islanders have two shops, which sell the basics, as well as a fish and chip shop, hardware store, bank and hotel.
‘‘A two-litre bottle of fresh milk here is $10.
‘‘Most people shop online and groceries are brought in via either ship or plane.’’
She said she felt lucky to live there and loved the island’s changing landscape and its rich history.
‘The beaches and back country are incredible.
‘‘It’s a little piece of New Zealand that many people don’t get to experience.’’