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Have you ever dreamed about living on an island or wondered what it would be like to live on a little island by yourself?

I’m Fiona (Fe) and for the past six years I’ve lived on (two) tiny, privately owned islands in New Zealand, at the bottom of the world. My partner is an ‘Island Keeper’.

We’ve spent most of our time in the Hauraki Gulf of New Zealand (near Auckland, the biggest city), on an Island that used to be a resort, complete with squash courts, golf course, conference centre, restaurant and swimming pool. The resort has been closed for nearly 20 years (imagine lots of cobwebs and rust).

Both Islands are remote, in that there was no ferry – we had to make our own way on and off the islands by boat for food, fuel and other supplies.

Both Islands are ‘off the grid’; power is generated by solar and wind and water supply by catchment.

Both Islands are sanctuaries to a variety of bird life; including endangered species.

Living alone on an island is a truly unique experience, and while many people think it ‘sounds idyllic’ the reality is quite different; isolation, storms, tempers, droughts… running out of wine.

I’m really a ‘city girl’ – I’m used to takeaway coffees, supermarkets just minutes away, using a hair drier every day, and I expect a hot shower as the ‘norm’. Before the Island experience I’d never really been on a boat before; hadn’t been fishing; never seen a Dotterel or Weka before (or knew what they were), I hated the beach and always had clean hair.

Island life is a challenge and a learning curve.


Once Upon An Island is an inspirational project; utilising my skills in writing, publishing, editing, photography, video, marketing and social media – to bring a unique experience and story to life digitally, for everyone to enjoy and learn from.

Follow our journey of an ‘Island Keeping life’ on the blog, on social media, and on a web series on YouTube. You will get a fascinating and fun insight into what it’s really like to live on an island.

(Photos: Local birds with names; Dangles, Bruce and Carol, W the Weka, Mr Dott)

You will get to know the local ‘characters’ (the birds with names); insights into our day-to-day life off the grid; our ‘battle’ against the rats to become pest free; the weird and wonderful finds that wash up on the beaches, and the colourful characters who need rescuing – or who rescue us. And the symptoms of ‘Island Fever’. Plus a whole lot more.

Imagine Gilligan’s Island, meets Castaway, meets The Shining, meets Survivor, meets Country Calendar…

Support the OnceUponAnIsland project here



With your support the ‘Once Upon An Island’ Project will be available for you to enjoy; because you helped to make it happen. You can live an Island life vicariously.

You’ll know that you helped to bring a truly unique experience and story to the rest of the world.

And most importantly, you helped share how our islands can become pest free to save native species; how the rubbish that is washing up on our beaches harms our seabirds, our fish – and us, and the realities of living ‘off the grid’.

(Photos: Pest Eradication)

Support the OnceUponAnIsland project here


Your support, like patronage in the old days, helps to pay me to ‘create’; so I can write, photograph, video, edit, design, market, social media, research, promote – to bring this project together and make it awesome (and become self-sustaining).

I’ll be able to share stories on the blog, photos on social media, and a web series on YouTube.

Thanks to your support, the blog will become a book, and some of the web series episodes will become a presentation I can share with organisations and groups to educate and entertain about the importance of plastics in our seas and the importance of saving our native birds through pest eradications.

YOU will have helped make a difference.

(Photos: Plastic on our beaches)

Support the OnceUponAnIsland project here


Your patronage will be hugely appreciated, and while we can’t post you a Weka (an endemic flightless bird), you do get the bragging rights for being part of making this project happen.

Thank you!

Support the OnceUponAnIsland project here

(Photos: The weird and wonderful flotsam and jetsam that washes up)