She is a global conservationist living between two homes, Galapagos and New Zealand. She is an author of a staggering 14 books with unique perspectives on the natural world.
Tui De Roy is drawn to wild places, including the Subantarctic Islands of New Zealand.
Her first expedition to the Subantarctics was in 2001. Since then she has lead 2 research expeditions to Antipodes, in 2004 and later in 2005. Both trips she and her then-partner Mark sailed there on their 13 metre boat Mahalia. As well as completing research work with her small team for several science programmes, Tui was also photographing and completing her own research work for the book Albatross: Their World, Their Ways that she co-authored with Mark Jones and Julian Fitter. It took Tui 9 months over 5 years photographing albatross in NZ, mostly throughout the Subantarctic islands as well as the Chatham islands in order to complete this comprehensive book on Albatross, followed by a sister volume on Penguins.
She remembers the mice on the Antipodes “Every morning the rain gauge was stuffed with dead mice, they were everywhere.” Having seen the situation firat-hand on Gough Island, where mice eat Albatross chicks alive, Tui believes it would only be a matter of time before the mice on Antipodes would learn the same behaviour. Tui strongly supports the Department of Conservations decision to eradicate mice from Antipodes, holding similar hope for the eradication of mice from Gough Island.
Recently back from 2 years in the Galapagos Island where she grew up, she is currently working on a revised edition of her book “Galapagos: Preserving Darwin’s Legacy”, describing the conservation and research on these islands. Another book she has started working on is a 50 year retrospective of her Galapagos photography.
Tui uses her communication skills in writing and photograghy to encourage an awareness of our natural world and its current situation.
Tui’s inspiration to become a conservationist did not come from a particular person, book or lecture, it was nature itself and her strong connection to it that fostered these feelings. She has always lived with nature as ‘a part of’ rather than ‘apart from’. For Tui sailing her own boat through the roaring 40’s to get to Antipodes is another way to connect to the environment of the albatross, and the great oceans where they spend their lives. “For me, being out there in the fierce winds and waves that the albatrosses ride so perfectly, and hiking across the islands where they come to nest, is to find my own wild heart, far away from the complexities and artifice of modern life. It’s raw and real, and sometimes quite hard, but that’s where I find my spiritual home.”
Bouncing from one photo project to another in widely differing parts of the world, more often than not a lot of wonderful unplanned events occur for Tui. This has led to her favourite John Lennon quote being “Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans”.
For Christmas Tui was somewhere between NZ and Auckland Islands on a Heritage Expedition ship doing what she loves, taking photos of wildlife in their natural environment to tell their story, and sharing her knowledge with like-minded travellers. When she’s settled back home in the next few weeks (Golden Bay, South Island) and has sorted through her photos, she’ll be back with her own story of that trip. Watch this space.