Earth Friends

A series of interviews by Bobbie Woodward with Friends in Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Some of these stories use the words of the participants, and some use Bobbie's account of the interview. In all of them, the deep love of the earth, and care for our rich and mysterious environment comes through loud and strong.
These are wonderful stories, brief but inspiring. Reading them will expand your own desire to live simply, love well, and revere the Earth.  
In each of these pages, you can read the account below, or download it as a document.
You can also download a single document containing all accounts.

During the 1970s Jack and Mary Woodward were working at the University of Technology in Lae, Papua New Guinea, Jack as Head of the new Department of Electrical Engineering, charged with the training of graduates to meet the needs of the modern sector. 

When we designed our house to be built 2002, we based our plans on the inspiration we had from seeing Viola and Phil Palmer’s house in Waikanae. We did not have a lot of money so had to choose carefully how to spend it. 

Isobel Thompson’s contribution to nurturing the Earth has been through activism over a long life. She links her wide-ranging concerns and freedom of thought to her upbringing. 

There can be few Quakers whose background and work experience gave him a greater insight into, and appreciation for, the world of Nature than Joe Short. The Testimony to his life includes the following passage.

Growing up in Perth, Western Australia, in a family of four children among other big families, was a time of great freedom for Rowe, who remembers that ‘we were away from early morning till late and no-one needed to know where we were

Rosemary Tredgold wrote the following paragraphs about the few years when John and Muriel were living in a caravan and cottage on some land at Le Bons Bay on Banks Peninsular.

Don Mead has had a long-life interest in sustainable forest management. After he left high school Don joined the NZ Forest Service and after gaining a B.Sc at Victoria University was sent to Edinburgh to study forestry.

Thirty years ago, we decided to give up our urban life style for a simpler, rural one. Our four oldest children had left home, our youngest, Hilary, was fourteen.

How do people like Rob and Heather List get to a point where they put their money where their mouths are and try to walk lightly as well as cheerfully upon the earth?  It starts a long way back with the attitudes and actions of parents. 

Our mother Kath (1913-2001) was surely one who trod lightly on the Earth. Kath was born into a family of gardeners. Her parents grew flowers for florists and also from necessity produced most of their own food on their acre section in Mt Albert, Auckland. 

Not for the Fainthearted. Not a very attractive advertisement for 15 acres of cut-over ex-forestry land some distance from Waimauku, near Auckland’s west coast beach Muriwai!

If we are to remain a successful living species on this planet we need to live within the limits of the resources around us. I don’t think I thought a lot about this as either a University student or as a young mother.

By any standards Robert’s life story so far is an outstanding one. As a highly experienced university teacher, business manager, consultant, as well as contributing author of an important book, he is not one to be put in a box!

Gael is not a birthright Quaker, but her father attended a Quaker school and her parents decided that the Friends School in Hobart would provide the sort of education they wanted for their daughter. 

In the current literature on global warming and climate change, reforestation and the preservation of rain forest is high on the list of the most useful contributions any one individual, group or nation can make. 

Albie has always had a passion for the environment. As a student he kept snakes in his bedroom in a hall of residence at the university where he was studying botany and zoology, and enjoying many field trips around Southern Africa, where he grew up.

This text was written in 2011. Subsequently, in 2014, Nick & Anita returned to the UK where, sadly, Nick developed motor neurone disease with front-lobe dementia, and died on 17 August 2016.