Iznaya_summer days with baby


Invy path


Iznaya with board


Iznaya surfing


Iznaya graduation


John Butler with guitar


Gemaine Greer


Monty Roberts with horse


Meet Iznaya

Iznaya? An unusual/unique name – origin/meaning?

- It's supposed to be Itznaya, but when discussing names my dad didn't realise there was a T, so on the papers he wrote it without and when my mum saw it she kind of liked it. I have been told, since childhood, that it was the name of a Mayan princess and that it means 'princess' in a Mayan language. Don't ask me which one (there are hundreds), and I can only really take my mum's word for it till I can afford to take my family on a huge sabbatical to Honduras to chase it up! Apparently, someone in my mum's village got wind of a local girl-made-good who moved to Oz and had a family, and named her daughter after hearing my name.

You seem a very earthy mama – connected to your animals, the land and the ocean: discuss

- Oooohh, meaty one. When I was born, my parents lived near the beach and that's where I spent my first years, almost exclusively.  Later on we took up camping and bushwalking.  Upon reflection, the only place I felt comfortable in my own skin was away from the maddening crowd - beach or forest.  My younger sister was the hippie one when we were growing up - all dolphins and whales and shopping at Ishka. (hahaha – ed) A role-reversal happened somewhere along the line!

A visit to my rellos in Ireland when I was very young introduced me to farm life and I was hooked. I could never understand why my parents would NOT want to live on a farm and give me a horse. They eventually bought me a horse and I found a kindred spirit about the farm when I met Tom. This farm is a haven for me and I've been able to seek ways to give back to the earth and do something for our little waterway that will outlast memory of who I ever was. It's also a dream come true to live with my horse, who has become somewhat of a fixture in my life. Dante predates Tom, so he's my main man and we still have heaps to learn together. Horses are the best humans.

I envy the connection to Country that Aboriginal people have, so I do my best to honor the Country I am on and call home.

As much as I love our creek, and various rivers I've come to know, the beach is where I feel the most inconsequential and connected. It's a water thing - I'm a Piscean! I had my babies in water. The homebirth for my second child was the next, logical step, and I channeled my Abuela (Spanish for 'grandmother') for that one. Not literally... no Ouija boards involved! When I first thought about having kids with Tom, and whenever the remote possibility of doing so occurred to be before Tom came along, I knew I would have to birth in water. I didn't even know if it was possible, I just thought I'd better do it, and my instinct has been my most valued parenting and life tool since.

Do your friends consider yourself political or passionate?

- Ummm...both! I don't see any point avoiding either fate. You only live once, so go for broke leaving the world a better place than you found it, I reckon. I love a good cause!

A recent graduate (last week in fact), what for and what’s your motivation?

- Ok, so back in 2005 I decided to enroll in another uni course, as a side-step from the Honors course I'd just done in Anthropology (mind you, I had meant to take 12 months off, and only lasted 6 months before the bug got me again). I had a few ideas of where I'd like to take Anthropology and decided Psychology would help steer my line of questioning, so I embarked on the Graduate Diploma in Psychology, which is really a Psych major without the rest of the degree for people who already have a degree in something else. My first academic love is the Arts (I also majored in English) and Psychology is a valuable tool I now have for when I eventually go back to Anthropology, when the kids are much, MUCH older! For now, though, I am keen to try my hand in Community Development, and I'm involved in a few related things at a volunteer level from prioritising 'Reconciliation' with Australia's first people, advancing women in firefighting and wanting to see the CFA be more representative of the communities they serve, among other barrows I have to push. Out of all this I'll generate a PhD topic or two from all these experiences. Many, MANY years from now.
I can rest when I'm dead!

Memories of your first album and first concert – what were they?

- I was such an un-cool kid, from very un-cool parents, so I think my first proper concert would have been to see the John Butler Trio in 2003 at the Lyric in Geelong. It was a transformative experience, not least because I go weak at the knees for slide guitar. Before that I had seen my favorite musicians play at folk festivals and local venues, in my Belgrave/Upwey days. I think I'd drive patrons at a concert crazy chiming in with my harmonies.

My first album was Whitney Houston's Greatest Love. It was a cassette, and I lent it to the DJ of the Year 7 school camp, along with Bananarama and Cyndi Lauper, the only music cassettes I owned, and never saw them again. I have since recovered the music to iTunes...but I will never be the same again! (Love it! – oh you must have been devastated – ed)

The dinner party – any 6 guests – who would they be and why?
- Tricky, there are so many people I'd love to steal a few minutes from!

1. Kathy Dettwyler - social anthropologist who has published many papers on lactation practices around the world. I'd love to bounce theories around the dinner table with her.
2. Archie Roach - music and story-telling of his people and the people from communities he has links with.
3. Jane Savoie - I love her approach to dressage and her explanations.
4. Germaine Greer - she'd be a riot and keep the fellas in check.
5. Monty Roberts - 'The Man Who Listens To Horses'; I met him when he did a tour of Australia in 2001 and I was volunteering for the RSPCA, who were official helpers for the event. He is such a compassionate man to humans and horses.
6. My Abuela, if I could bring her back to life - I'd love to ask her to recount some Mayan oral histories, as well as some other family mysteries.

I think they'd all learn something from one another and enjoy my mulled wine offerings or home-made chai tea for the non-drinkers.