Derek Onley moved from the UK to New Zealand in 1972 via Southampton, Swansea, Portugal, Cambridge and Oxford. He lived for many years on the West Coast as an ornithological hippie, and among other things he trapped possums, built a house or two and was active in native forest conservation. After 20 years of wet feet, he moved east to Waitati where he lives with his partner and cat, continues to study birds and grows vegetables, trees and roses. In between he has carried out fieldwork in New Zealand and many offshore islands. His illustrations have appeared in field guides worldwide and he is currently working on a guide to Paraguay birds.