Amateur photographer and Foxton resident Terry Oliver-Ward wants to help people with limited mobility enjoy the abundant bird life by putting together a directory of accessible places to visit in Kāpiti and Horowhenua.

Around 10 years ago, Terry picked up her husband Rob's camera and started to take photos of birds in the Manawatū Estuary. It became her go-to activity. Rob had to buy a camera for her as she got completely absorbed in bird photography.

Terry Ward-Oliver with her pet bird Beep by Jennie Gutry.
Terry Ward-Oliver with her pet bird Beep by Jennie Gutry.

Her photographs feature in the NZME's Celebrating Horowhenua, Manawatū Estuary Trust guidebook, a booklet Terry produced herself and some large images on the walls in Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom.

After being very sick, Terry is unable to walk outside without assistance. She uses her trusted mobility chair named Dennis, after the Dennis fire engines she remembers from her childhood.

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She says people like her who cannot walk unassisted do not have to stay inside.

"There are so many places locally that are so accessible to wheelchair users, like the Manawatū Estuary, Nga Manu in Waikanae. You can even see birdlife sitting in a car here. We are very lucky."

Terry is looking at ways to produce a printed or online directory to help others explore their own backyards with information on how accessible areas are.

Kereru by Terry Oliver-Ward.
Kereru by Terry Oliver-Ward.

A life-long animal lover, Terry used to be a saddler and bird breeder. She has a 20-year-old pet maroon bellied conure from the Amazon, named Beep, who lives in her house in Robinson Rd.

"He was the first bird I ever hand-reared but he bit so hard, it made you cry. I couldn't sell him so kept him. He owns the house really."

In the garden of their home in Foxton township, just off SH1, Terry and Rob enjoy visits from waxeyes, tui and other native birds which they feed on oranges and sugar syrup. She can spend hours taking photos of them.

"I took over 600 shots of waxeyes this morning, just trying to get the right image."

On a very limited income, Terry says bird photography is the perfect hobby now with digital cameras and no films to buy and develop.

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Egret by Terry Oliver-Ward.
Egret by Terry Oliver-Ward.

"I don't have much so I am very lucky to be able to do this."

Terry shares her photos freely with the Manawatū Estuary Trust and local Facebook pages. Archival quality prints of Terry's beloved birds are available for sale from the Flax Gallery in Foxton.