Christchurch Antarctic Office
Kia ora koutou

A warm welcome back to Christchurch to the new Head of the 
Korea-New Zealand Antarctic Cooperation Center, 
Mr. Dongmin Jin.  Haere Mai ki Otautahi Dongmin to you and your wife Heeson Kim. 

Congratulations to Claire Cowles and the team at Pop up Penguins for raising over $1 million in the final auction of the avian artworks.  Local charity Cholmondeley Childrens Centre will benefit hugely from the funds raised.  We know many local Antarctic organisations contributed to the cause in a range of ways, so thanks to all involved for helping out a worthy community charity and spreading the Antarctic message.

Although the next Antarctic season seems a long way away, we've already set the dates for our Season Opening "Days of Ice" celebrations from 8-25 October 2021, so put these dates in your diary and we'll provide more information shortly.  Finally, if you're starved of unique holiday ideas, don't forget Christchurch's own 
Heritage Expeditions can take you to some of NZ's most special offshore gems, or if you're missing eating at altitude, a boomerang night flight to the Aurora Australis might be more your style. 

Ngā mihi nui

David & Sue
Christchurch Antarctic Office

During an Antarctic season that had its many challenges and disruptions, it's worth reflecting on some of the positives. The pandemic meant that all National Antarctic Programmes reduced the scale of their operations.  Credit and thanks are due to the NZ Goverment for recognising the importance of keeping our Antarctic Gateway open for our international partners. 
2020 marked an incredible milestone of 65 years of continuous operation of the USAP's Operation Deep Freeze. Italy's Polar vessel the Laura Bassi spent the winter in Lyttelton, before heading South for science and supply.  Last year saw the the inaugural visit to Lyttelton of China's newest research ship, the Xue Long 2, and Korea's Araon called in enroute South.  With so many scientists at home, Antarctica NZ seized the opportunity to run a highly successful summer season NZ Antarctic Science Conference at the beautiful Haere Roa centre at U.C. 
Thanks to all involved for the hard work in making the season happen.  We're not sure what next season holds yet, but we can heed the advice of Sir Ernest Shackleton who said: "Difficulties are just things to overcome, after all..."

The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Nanaia Mahuta, has notified the draft Comprehensive Environmental Evaluation (CEE) for the proposed Scott Base Redevelopment.
This is the culmination of many years of work led by the Antarctica New Zealand Policy, Environment and Safety and Scott Base Redevelopment teams, with input from many scientists and other stakeholders.
Read the CEE and provide feedback 


View an awesome three-minute video on what the scientists and team aboard NIWA's RV Tangaroa have been up to in the Ross Sea over recent weeks. Voyage leader and principal fisheries scientist Dr. Richard O’Driscoll takes us on a brief journey through their month-long voyage of discovery.  
A big focus of the programme was the monitoring of the world's largest Marine Protected Area - the Ross Sea MPA. Tumeke Tangaroa !


People are key to Antarctica New Zealand’s success. This includes permanent staff; fixed term and contract staff; seconded staff from the New Zealand Defence Force and strategic partners in Government, the science community and other National Antarctic Programmes. 

Scott Base is recruiting now! They need mechanics, engineers, field support, chefs and more! For a little inspiration on career choices, watch 
this video. Pass this on if you know of anyone that might be interested. Learn about the available roles and apply here:

  • HitLab  NZ- Open House - VR, AR, Antarctica 360 - Wed 3 March 10am - 12pm - HitLab UC - INFO
  • Seaweek – Kaupapa Moana -  6 - 14 March - Programme
  • Otautahi-Christchurch Ocean of Opportunity - Thu 11 March 5.30pm - Turanga - Register here
  • Korora - Movie Premiere - Fri 12 March 5pm - International Antarctic Centre  - Tickets here 
  • Flight to the Southern Lights - Sun 21 March 2021 - website
  • Antarctica themed 5K or 10K Walk or Run -  - Sun 9 May 8am - New Brighton - DETAILS
  • "Days of Ice" - Antarctic Season Opening celebrations - 8 - 25 October - Save the dates - more to come
  • The Big Freeze - UK's SPRI's online Polar art festival and exhibition - 4-14 March - INFO

Lorde's Antarctic Reflections
“I have dreamt about Antarctica every week for months. Every few nights there are Emperor penguins in my garden or there is like some expansive gets you on a sort of subconscious level…it’s just the coolest thing that will ever happen to me."
Watch Lorde interviewed by Antarctica NZ's Megan Nicholl as she discusses her thoughts and experiences from her 2019 trip to Antarctica. 

Rocking the Blue Cradle
Otautahi-Christchurch, an Ocean of Opportunity will celebrate and recognize the fact that we are in a unique “blue” City of exploration, adventure, peace, science and technological innovation. In this context, the Blue Cradle Foundation will announce the intention to host the 6th International Marine Protected Area Congress (IMPAC6), in 2026.

Eight distinguished speakers from academia, policy, Iwi, science, conservation, start-ups and ecotourism will present their work and aspirations in relation to the ocean, introduced by Christchurch Mayor, Hon. Lianne Dalziel.
Thursday 11 March, 5.30pm-8.00pm - Turanga

Register here - tickets free but limited
Credit: Antarctica NZ

World Penguin Movie Premiere
Kororā, a documentary by James Nikitine & Kerepeti Paraone follows Canterbury's endemic white-flippered penguin and celebrates the community engaged in protecting our native biodiversity.  
Fri 12 March 5pm - International Antarctic Centre  - 
Tickets here 

Museum Fundraiser Commences
With an internationally significant Antarctic collection dating back to the heroic era, Te Ūaka The Lyttelton Museum holds incredible stories from the great southern continent. The Museum fundraising campaign to build a new Museum in the heart of Lyttelton went live in February. Donate or view the collection online HERE.

Homecoming for Scott's Scales
New Zealand’s Antarctic Heritage Trust is celebrating the return of a set of Salter scales which American Navy Seabee Captain souvenired from Robert Falcon Scott’s Discovery Hut in Antarctica.  The scales were taken by Captain James Douglas who was a distinguished engineer and Naval command officer in charge of the construction of eight United States bases in Antarctica in the late 1950s.

Read the heartwarming story of the return of the special artefact and see video of its return to Antarctica HERE.

Antarctica meets Aerospace
The recently launched 
Antarctic Academy at the International Antarctic Centre is spreading its wings and creating Antarctic Aerospace programmes to link two of Christchurch’s key narratives – Antarctica Gateway status and the Aerospace supernode. Led by Miranda Satterthwaite, the Academy is excited to partner with Science Alive and deliver Kids in Space programmes.

Gateway to the Southern Lights
Join Viva Expeditions and Aurora hunter and
astrophysicist Dr Ian Griffin & a team of expert
astronomers as they leave Christchurch and fly into the night, to witness one of the world’s most magical natural phenomena - Aurora Australis. Take off onboard an Air New Zealand Dreamliner, you will head south over the Southern Ocean towards Antarctica, aiming for latitudes of 62 degrees South where the Aurora Australis is brightest. Date: 21 March 2021 - check the 
website as more dates may be added.

Best Birding Book update
A Subantarctic update is in the wings for New Zealand's favourite birding book after Oscar Thomas joined one of Heritage Expeditions voyages this season. Oscar, the 20-year-old behind best-selling identification guide A Naturalist's Guide to the Birds of New Zealand was one of 28 True Young Explorers Scholarship
 recipients who travelled with Heritage Expeditions this season. Find out more HERE

Scholarships and Funding

Applications for Antarctic Science International Bursaries are now open. Bursary awards are intended to support career development for promising early career scientists worldwide, working in any field of Antarctic science. For more information and to apply visit

Applications for Antarctica New Zealand's 2021 Postgraduate Scholarships are now open. Find more information here.

The Trans-Antarctic Association (NZ) provides small grants each year in support of Antarctic research and related activities conducted by New Zealand citizens or permanent residents. Applications close Monday 15 March. Contact Peter Barrett for more information and application forms. See here for further details

Antarctica NOW
In the midst of a UK COVID lockdown, adventure clothing outfitter SHACKLETON curated an online series of one-hour video presentations called Antarctica Now.  There's something for everyone here, from geopolitics and photography to extreme science, design and expeditioning.  Hugh Broughton, the architect for the new Scott Base, talks about how they will reflect New Zealand's heritage and values, while designing a world class science and research hub.


The next meeting of the Christchurch Antarctic Network will be held at the International Antarctic Centre on Thursday 18 Marchat 5.30pm, and will include some "behind the scenes" introductions to Antarctic Operations.  This is an invitation only event for Partners and Members, but if you know of a local business delivering an Antarctic related product or service, please get them to contact us


Special thanks to Bill Nye, Joshua Moot and Lucy Gardner from the Explorers Hub in The Arts Centre for hosting the presentation by Bob Maxwell on his Ski Expedition to the South Pole in late January.  What a lovely surprise for Bill from Adventure Books to show the rare copy of the South Polar Times, signed by original editor Sir Ernest Shackleton.  Our Antarctic Gateway City Mayor was there to show her support.