Born in Palmerston North and raised in Waitangi in the beautiful Bay of Islands by her grandparents, she has lived there amongst her family for over 30 years.
Over time she met the founder of Bay Bush Action Trust Brad Windust, and began her journey helping him to save and protect the forest and the wildlife within the Opua State forest. Since that day she has never looked back. Her love of the land and the wildlife is poured into her work with this project.
Volunteering for Bay Bush Action has allowed her to learn and then share their vision to all who are interested including, schools, hapū, and other conservation groups.
When she’s not in the forest, she runs her own tour guiding business, Papatūānuku Earth Mother Tours, where Manuhiri (visitors) from all corners of the world are taken on an exclusive guided tour through the Opua Forest Kauri walk. In this forest is where Bay Bush Action currently traps over 250 hectares using over 2000 multi species traps. She takes her guests on a journey and shares her knowledge about the forest and how Māori once used the taonga (resources) traditionally to nourish, protect and heal their growing families. She paints a very clear picture of how the present day is very different to those times and how the forest is now under huge stress due to the introduction of several species from other countries. She shares her views on how these species now flood the forests of today, eliminating the endemic and native wildlife of this country, to the point of extinction in some cases.
Stella’s easy-going manner and desire to be a strong and true voice for and on behalf of the wildlife and forest and to hand down her knowledge of the natural world to her family, her country and the world has led her to the Kiwis for kiwi team. She supports our vision and the kaupapa to engage and empower the people of the land (Tāngata Whenua) and all who want to reclaim their role as true kaitiaki kiwi, guardians and defenders of our national icon and the natural world they once lived in.