Lorna Little grew up on a farm in Tangiteroria, half a hour out of Whangarei, and laughs as she describes how Dunedin was at first the “bright lights, big city” for her. But her ventures south didn’t stop there.
Passionate about plants, Lorna adored studying botany: “I really loved the sense of achievement of getting out into the field and knowing what I was looking at. We learnt so much in class about different plants, how they live and reproduce. It was awesome being able to identify them.”
Then, after her third year of study, Lorna received a scholarship to go to the subantarctic islands – Campbell and the Auckland Islands and parts of the Snares – and knew she would do anything to get back there. So, when her honours degree was complete, she enrolled in the Postgraduate Certificate of Antarctic Studies. “After two weeks in the classroom we did our first assignment,” says Lorna of the 14-week course. “It was marked over the weekend and then on Tuesday we were flying down to Antarctica on a Hercules!”
Now, Lorna has been offered her dream job as an Antarctic tour guide, naturalist and zodiac driver with GAP expeditions. She’s excited about tours beginning in October 2010 and being able to relate what she learnt in her degree to tourists. For example, did you know that in Antarctica there is a protein from a bacteria that’s used to make your ice cream smooth?
Ideally, Lorna would like to get to the Arctic as well. “I love the cold; it doesn’t have so many insects. And the Arctic’s got all the polar plant action!” Lorna describes her perfect life as “Four months in Antarctica and four months in the Arctic doing what I love for a living!”