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Community and DOC Guardianship from 1958
I first came to the island in 1959, as it changed from being a neglected Quarantine island to being St Martin Island, focus of a little ecumenical community.
It was always a beautiful place, but at that time it was all tumbledown buildings, cottage filthy, no running water, chaos of corrugated iron and discarded planking. We were with a lively youth group from Knox Church and caught the dream of a place with a welcome for all and pioneering an alternative spirituality.
The Iona Community in Scotland, with its passion for social justice, peace-making and the renewal of the church was our rough model. We called it St Martin Island to stress the commitment to healing of land and people. Then for almost twenty years I was in Edinburgh University.
On my return in 1981 I was startled and excited to find the little St Martin Island Community still going. Just! We had our own boat then, the Maroro, run by Errol Thompson, then Charles Clark and others.
The 1980’s and 1990’s were lively times, with large live-in weekends, mainly young people, on themes like Sexuality Today, Maori and Celtic Spirituality. Honoured guests were Hone Tuwhare and Sonja Davies.
My partner, Heinke, ran a children’s programme every second month for kids from the Women’s Refuge. Our children loved the place. Catriona spent a year on the island as a volunteer; Donald edited the Newsletter and was married in the Chapel.
As a Presbyterian minister and an academic, with a passion for peace and justice work, the work and worship of the community kept my feet on the ground. It’s been wonderful over the years to see the bush regenerating, the buildings smarting up, the commitment of the core groups and the flow of appreciative groups and guests.
Peter Matheson. Past President
May 2016-2018 – Phil Perrow.
Kia ora everyone, I am really looking forward to being the new keeper on Quarantine Island/ Kamau Taurua.
I have had a variety of jobs over the years, mostly working in the outside environment and with people. I worked for a number of years at The Malcam Charitable trust as a supervisor/ youth worker. I loved this role due to the nature of being able to work alongside youth on projects around conservation, life skills, outdoor adventure and personal growth.
More recently, I have been a tour guide at Penguin Place which also encompassed these passions of mine, wildlife conservation and sharing information with people. I love the experience of learning new skills and feel excited about the challenges and adventures island life will bring. Other interests of mine include mountaineering, rock climbing, tramping, sailing, diving, kayaking, gardening and yoga.
I can’t wait to meet more of the Island community and am grateful to have been given this role of sharing the taonga of this special place with others.
Don and Ana have a long history of community and environmental activity. They trained in the arts, design and cultural sector where they have both worked as tertiary educators and in the private sector as business owner/operators.
Ana has just returned from the USA where she was a Fulbright Scholar in Residence at a university in Atlanta, Georgia, where Don also taught. Arts Access Aotearoa have engaged Don and Ana to mentor emerging leaders in the community arts sector. This year Ana is undertaking a Postgraduate Diploma in Natural History Filmmaking and Communication at Otago University. Don and Ana own a few acres at Taieri Mouth where they are engaged in extensive native revegetation. They are both keen and experienced trampers/mountaineers/climbers with one of their favourite playgrounds being the Mount Aspiring National Park region.
2014 Gordon and Candy Douglas
As the very new Keepers of Quarantine Island we are having a ball! We seemed to have gales from both North and South for the first two weeks and outboard difficulties led to some hard rowing but we’re now enjoying some glorious summer weather!
We care for Jackstan and Rangi who are both enjoying the new environment and especially like the boat crossings.
Fostering children / young people has been an important part of our lives for nearly all of our 37 years of marriage. I come from a teaching background and Candy has worked as a Registered Nurse mainly in Mental Health settings.
We both enjoy the outdoors, small boats and kayaks and we’re enjoying sharing this very special place with passing boaties, and the various visiting groups.
A special thanks to the St Martin Island Community who have made us feel very welcome and have been generous with their support as we settle into this new situation.
Heritage open day interview
2013 Wayne Johnson, Anna Hughes and sons
Of course our sons Eli (6) and Niwha (3) are residents too. They also do a bit of the ‘Keeping’.
We have backgrounds in the outdoors having both worked at the NZ Outward Bound School in the Marlborough Sounds. The island is an incredible adventure for us as a family. We’re all very comfortable on the water. Having operated boats before made this aspect of island life a bit easier.
In more recent times Wayne has worked as a videographer and Anna in the field of Education for Sustainability.
Island life is challenging and rewarding. The combination of wild, wet, cold weather and calm, fine, warm spells forces us to go with what the whenua and moana that surrounds us have to offer on the day. Living here has given us a strong connection to this environment and the community who so love this place. We enjoy welcoming people to our home island.
First resident Keeper of SMIC, Cottage extended reopened July 1990
……. back in time
The Dougall family era 1863-1924 (61 years)
The title ‘Keeper’ dates from this period. The quarantine stations had Keepers, as did lighthouses.
John Dougall – Keeper from 1863-1890. Died and buried on Island.
Elizabeth Dougall (John’s wife)- Keeper 1890-? until her son Will took over.
Will Dougall (John’s son) Keeper ? to-1924 when the Quarantine Station closed.