I could tell she thought I was a weirdo as I stood waiting for her.
"I'm about to accost you," I said as she walked up.
"Yeeess," she replied suspiciously.
I'm not saying I'm psychic or anything but I knew it would be her.
Erina wasn't Max's partner when she started working with Fiordland Whio, but she is now.
"Whio have an effect on people," she said as we walked along.
I had emailed her partner, Andrew (aka Max), just before Christmas to say we'd be coming to check out the Fiordland Whio situation - so they were sort of expecting us.
By the time the three of us had walked the 800 metres or so down the beach our heads were swimming with facts, figures and place names that sounded like they were out of a Monty Python movie. Glaisnock and Nitz. Monkey Creek. Neale Burn.
Erina was more than happy to fill us both in.
Fiordland has one of the country's eight security sites for Whio. This means it has an important population of birds in it and is therefore well-resourced with traplines, scientific backing and public profile. It is in another league entirely to the lower Ruahines Whio area where Whiona and I do a bit of stoat trapping. An area that has only recently been recognised as a Recovery Area.
There are also several Recovery Areas in Fiordland. These areas are less resourced, rely on community partnerships with DoC and generally have small populations of birds.
Some of the community groups and businesses involved in local Whio recovery include, the Fiordland Wapiti Foundation, Downers EDI, Real Journeys, Genesis Energy, Trips and Tramps, Gunns Camp Charitable Trust and the NZ Alpine Club.
When I say the area is well resourced, Max and Erina are Fiordland's two paid Whio officers. Many of the traplines are serviced by contractors, which doesn't come cheap.
The Murchison Mountains that overlook Te Anau, for example, have several thousand traps that get checked and rebaited once a month. This costs $35,000...each month.
This may sound like a lot of money. But consider this. All of New Zealand's National Parks would fit inside Fiordland. It's big, incredibly complex and tough terrain.
There are about 200 kilometres of river with stoat traps for Whio in the region. Plus there are many many more for other endangered species. Bats, Takahe, Kaka. They are all in trouble and all need looking after.
When I asked Max how many traps there were in the Murchisons he paused...thought long and hard and said "thousands". I don't blame him for not knowing exactly. This is a numbers game and the numbers change all the time. I have trouble keeping up with the few kilometres of river I work on if I'm not busy. Max and Erina are responsible for protecting our Whio in some of the world's most complex terrain.
So what is it about stoats and Whio? It was in Fiordland in only about 2000 that scientists and local conservationists first made the connection.
The Whio population was considered quite healthy until video footage taken on nests showed stoats doing their dirty work. Eggs, ducklings and females were being snatched by the vicious little buggers.
A closer look and people realised that the so-called healthy population was made up largely of males. Larger and less nest-bound, they were less vulnerable. A similar pattern showed up with other species like Kaka.
Tests were done with small runs of stoat traps and populations increased, so the programme was expanded to where it is today.
Tens of thousands of traps across the country. Thousands of people - paid and voluntary. Probably millions of man-hours of work. To protect what's left of our birds, bats, lizards and other vulnerable oddities.
So it's all under control then?
I don't think so.
The steep, but by Fiordland standards, easy-to-access Murchison Mountains have thousands of traps on them that are there to protect Takahe, Kiwi and Whio.
The Murchisons were the last stronghold of Takahe on the mainland. After the first traps went in, there were about 170 of the big blue birds living up in the tussock.
In 2007 there was an explosion of stoat numbers and the population shrunk to about 100. Since then there's been another outbreak. The numbers of Takahe now stand at around 75.
DoC people tend to be optimistic. If they weren't, they'd probably be suicidal. It's literally an uphill battle...with as many step declines.
After telling me the story of the troubled Takahe, Max finishes with...
"But it's been a good breeding season this year."
The good-fight continues.