Sheila Natusch was no ordinary

writer, illustrator, historian, naturalist, sailor, cyclist, mountain woman


She was also a strong character, with a warm and witty personality, who made light of her many successes and setbacks over a long career of telling New Zealand stories in words and drawings, and getting out in the mountains and on the sea to experience the exhilaration of the 'wild life' to the full.


This No Ordinary Sheila is Sheila Natusch. The film tells her life story: her upbringing on Stewart Island in the 1930s, her studies at Otago University in the 1940s, her teaching and writing career in Wellington thereafter, and her amazing adventures in the wild places of New Zealand.


As one viewer said: “It's a truly beautiful film about an inspiring woman. I just want to hug her. So admire her spirit.”

"Fabulous Film! What an inspiration for living."

Pip Watson

"An inspiring film about a Kiwi woman who wasn't held back."

"A gorgeous film about an astonishing woman."

Beck Eleven


No Ordinary Sheila is a film for anyone seeking some inspiration and everyone who is interested in ...

... sailing and the sea ...

... outdoor adventures ...

... New Zealand plants and animals ...

...and living life to the full – at any age...


Audiences respond to No Ordinary Sheila


"A beautiful film about a charming, passionate, adventurous woman." Louise Rees, Wellington


“No Ordinary Sheila tells the story of a talented, fiercely independent woman with a strong zest for life and a lively intelligence. We thoroughly enjoyed the film. The interviews, archival photographs and film, Sheila Natusch’s own sketches and paintings, and contemporary film of mountain, forest and coastal landscapes are full of interest, beauty and warmth.” Bob and Colleen McClymont, Wellington


“It's a gorgeous film about an astonishing woman. Just loved it.” Beck Eleven, Christchurch


“This is the story of a remarkable woman. With rare archive footage we are taken back in time, capturing the rich texture of Sheila's life and her dedication to nature and the outdoors. The film works on many levels; it communicates, educates and entertains us with Sheila's humour and zest for knowledge, and with the wonders of nature. It not only records the life of a strong-willed, determined and wonderful New Zealander but paints a rich tapestry of her love of people, country and life. It is a fitting tribute to a great lady who gave so much of herself for the benefit of others.”

David Lascelles, Wellington


"Fabulous film! What an inspiration for living." Pip Watson, Wellington


"I went to the sold out performance of it at the Nelson screening (with queues of people hoping for a late seat) - a very moving wonderful film." Debs Martin, Nelson


"My friend and I enjoyed No Ordinary Sheila enormously when we saw the film at the Issac Theatre Royal in Christchurch this afternoon. We were saddened to hear Sheila had died the previous night. No ordinary sheila indeed- what an extraordinary person, and life. "

Jane Myhill, Christchurch


"You've made an admirable film about an admirable woman. Thank you." Arabel Dickson, Christchurch


“I'm so impressed with what you've achieved. The richness of detail …  every word and image counts and carries another story about her life and her context. All those contemporary images, moving and still - and the work that went into finding them, much less incorporating them into a narrative. The brilliant interviews and the way you've used them - such a little person in such a huge life. You've captured the truth of Sheila with such vividness and care. It's a wonderful film.”

Claire-Louise McCurdy, Wellington.


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