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Landscape - Muttonbirders Television () – 1969 Nature Documentary

Landscape - Muttonbirders

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This Landscape doco looks at the muttonbirding culture of the deep south, as Rakiura (Stewart Island) Māori exercise their customary right to harvest the birds for food, oil and feather down. The hunt begins with a rugged trip to the islands where hundreds of thousands of tītī (or sooty shearwater) arrive annually to breed. The kinship of birding is evident as families (and a poodle) set up camp. Soon the salty kai is plucked from burrows and sent by wire downhill to the ‘pluckhole’. This was an early gig for director Bruce Morrison (Heartland, Shaker Run).

The sealers would drop their [Māori] wives off at this place, while they went away down south ... sealing. There was only women and children left on this place. That’s how it come to be called ‘Women’s Island’. The sealers would pick up their wives on their way back.
– How Women’s Island got its name