2013

2013

Antarctic dream soon to be reality

Mike Armstrong is all set to head for the icy plains and hills of Antarctica as part of a joint Antarctica New Zealand, Air New Zealand and National Geographic assignment to the Kiwi Scott Base.

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Candidates announced for Antarctica - no ordinary place, no ordinary assignment

Air New Zealand select two candidates for a once in a lifetime Antarctic experience

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MBIE announces Environment RFP

The Environment RFP includes Antarctic specific funding of just over $1m per annum.

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NZ Herald profiles the Director of NZARI

Find out what motivates the Director of NZARI and Sir Peter Blake Trust leader Professor Gary Wilson.

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Relay on Ice kicks off Cancer Society's 2014 relay series

Antarctica New Zealand's Scott Base joins 20 other countries taking part in the annual Relay for Life.

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Scott Base joins Movember spirit

Antarctica New Zealand Scott Base staff get involved in Movember.

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Erebus memorial ceremony held

Kiwi's and invited colleagues from the US gather to remember those who died in the Erebus tragedy 34 years ago.

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Incoming CEO is joining an elite group

Former Christchurch man, Peter Beggs, spent last week in Antarctica learning more about his dream job.

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NZ Scientists drill into Antarctic Ice

NZ and US scientists collaborate on climate change research.

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Ross Sea ice could impact NZ

NZ Antarctic research to link sea ice volume to changing global climate.

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Antarctic doco contender for NZ film award

Antarctica:  A Year on Ice receives four NZ film award nominations.

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Restoration for historic Antarctic hut

The oldest hut on Ross Island is being fully conserved for the first time in over a century.

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Air New Zealand concept flight delayed

Air New Zealand's 767 Antarctic landing delayed for a third time in just over a month.

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TV3 broadcast live from Antarctica

3 News reporter Hamish Clark is in Antarctica and joined Firstline live this morning.

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Waikato Scholarship awarded for new Antarctic research

Antarctic invertebrates called sprintails are one of the two new projects awarded a Waikato scholarship.

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Air New Zealand concept flight in November

Air New Zealand concept flight to McMurdo sea ice runway re-scheduled for November

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How does Antarctica effect the climate?

TV3 News look at the role NZ scientists and Antarctica play in global climate research

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The role of Antarctica in climate change

Marsden funding of almost $2m granted for Antarctic Science.

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Antarctica New Zealand announces Peter Beggs as new Chief Executive

Cantabrian Peter Beggs takes on the role of Chief Executive at Antarctica New Zealand.

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Antarctica - no ordinary place no ordinary assignment

Air New Zealand has launched a global search for an environmental enthusiast keen to share the wonders of the Antarctic frozen continent with the world

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RNZAF flight lands in challenging conditions

A Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) Boeing 757 has completed its second flight of the season to Antarctica, after weather conditions forced a delayed landing.

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Minister McCully to visit Antarctica

NZ Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully will travel to Antarctica for the first time on Monday.

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First flight of Antarctic season departs Christchurch

RNZAF 757 departs Christchuch taking 120 staff to Antarctica New Zealand's Scott Base and the Amercian National Science Foundation's McMurdo Station.

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Virtual guide to hidden gems of Antarctica

Antarctica New Zealand Scholar develops virtual guide to Antarctica's Ross Sea region.

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Want to know the state of the planet? Count Penguins

Antarctica New Zealand and Landcare Research prepare to begin the annual Adelie penguin census.

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Air New Zealand 767-300 invited to fly south

Antarctica New Zealand has invited Air New Zealand to help transport scientists.

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Ozone hole closing, but a slow process

The ozone hole is closing but it is a slow process and predictions are for it to recover between 2050 and 2100, a University of Canterbury (UC) expert says.

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Scott Base staff finally see sunrise

A natural daily phenomenon taken for granted around the globe every day has proved inspirational for Antarctica New Zealand’s Winter Team at Scott Base in Antarctica - sunrise. Link to print.

Fresh veggies for Scott Base

The first of two WinFly trips left Christchurch International Airport at noon today. The United States Air Force C17 Globemaster is expected to land at the Pegasus ice runway at around 5pm. 

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Antarctica 'has a part of me'

Peter Brookman, who has a snow-covered section of Antarctica named after him, has just celebrated 20 years working for Antarctica New Zealand.

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NZ research to understand Antarctic weather

Antarctica has a great influence on the weather in New Zealand. To better predict the future, we need to better understand the past.

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Saturday Morning' interview with Lou Sanson

Radio NZ's Kim Hill talks to Antarctica New Zealand's Lou Sanson about his last 11 years as CEO and his most memorable times on the ice.  Link to audio.

Recruitment for NZARI Research Advisor

Antarctica New Zealand is recruiting for a Research Advisor to assist the NZARI Director in the development and management of Antarctic Research Programmes.  This is a new two year fixed term role reporting to the NZARI Director and is based in Christchurch.  Applications close on Monday 26th August 2013.  For more information or to apply go to our recruitment site.

Change in a cold climate

Professor Gary Wilson, Director of NZARI, is recognised as a Blake Leader through his effort to bring together the multi-national ANDRILL project.  He explains the role NZARI and the Sub-Antarctic can play in answering: "How will Antarctica (and the rest of the globe) cope in a warmer world?".  Link to print.

CTV 'One on One' interview with Lou Sanson

CTV's One on One reporter, Jo Kane, interviews Lou Sanson, Antarctica New Zealand's CEO, about his achievements, the diversity of the CEO role (applications close on 24/7/13) and his next challenge.  Link to video. Link to CEO vacancy.

No consensus at CCAMLR disappointing - McCully

Foreign Affairs Minister Murray McCully today expressed deep disappointment that the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) did not reach a consensus on the creation of a marine protected area (MPA) in the Ross Sea region.  A CCAMLR special meeting in Bremerhaven, Germany, this week considered two MPA proposals - the New Zealand-United States Ross Sea region MPA and another by Australia, France and the European Union for a network of MPAs in East Antarctica. Full release.

Scientists calculate sea level rise as ice sheets melt

New satellite measurements of ice sheets suggest that sea levels may rise 35 centimetres higher than currently predicted for this century. Director of Victoria University of Wellington's Antarctic Research Centre talks to RadioNZ's Morning Report. Link to audio.

Antarctica New Zealand CEO celebrates achievements

Antarctica New Zealand, under innovative leadership from the CEO’s office, has built a global reputation for leadership and protection of Antarctica for future generations.  Antarctica New Zealand's CEO, Lou Sanson has discusses one of his proudest achievements with TV3's Rachel Smalley on Firstline.  Link to video.

Ice-breaking research on global warming

New Zealand's involvement in several international projects using autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) was discussed at the first joint Antarctica New Zealand and Australian Antarctic Division conference in Hobart.  One project has kiwi scientists collaborating on a United States-led project to explore under the Ross Ice Shelf.  Professor Tim Naish, Director of Victoria University's Antarctic Research Centre spoke to Fairfax's Deidre Mussen.  Link to print.

COMNAP celebrates 25th anniversary

The Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programmes (COMNAP) will hold its 25th Annual General Meeting (AGM) in Seoul, Republic of Korea, beginning on 8 July 2013.  This is a special occasion, being the 25th anniversary of the organisation that was formed in September 1988. COMNAP is an international association of 28 National Antarctic research programmes.  The organisation is run from the COMNAP Secretariat, headquartered in Christchurch, New Zealand.  Link to full release.

Applications open today for CEO role

The Directors of Antarctica New Zealand are inviting applications for the prestigious role of CEO.  Board Chair, Rob Fenwick, said the Directors were looking to recruit an experienced professional with strong national and international leadership and partnership credentials.  Full release and application information.

Antarctic Treaty - does a 54 year-old still have relevance today?

Antarctica - a fragile wilderness? a frontier yet to be explored and exploited? increased tourism?   How does a treaty signed all those years ago stand the test of time and provide continued guidance and protection for the environment of Antarctica. These are some of the questions Dr Neil Gilbert, Environment Manager Antarctica New Zealand, pondered over at the Strategic Science in Antarctica Conference in Hobart.  Link to audio.

Antarctica New Zealand CEO takes up role at DOC

Antarctica New Zealand Chief Executive, Lou Sanson, has announced his acceptance of an appointment with the Department of Conservation to lead their new conservation partnerships group.  The directors of Antarctica New Zealand wish Lou well in his new challenge with DOC and will begin recruitment for this coveted role stratight away.  Full Release. 

Antarctica New Zealand celebrate longest night

Antarctica New Zealand’s Winter Over team celebrate the longest night while their Christchurch colleagues batten down the hatches and weather the stormy conditions drawing cold weather from the Ross Island region in Antarctica where their colleagues are spending the winter at Scott Base. More.

Antarctic photos of the conditions on their way to NZ

Photos taken by Antarctica New Zealand's Winter Over team at Scott Base has been featured on weather channels up and down the country.  NZ Herald and Weatherwatch have featured them in their latest updatse on the major winter storm that is due to hit New Zealand tonight.  Link to NZHeraldLink to Weatherwatch.

Antarctic blast from Scott Base heading for New Zealand

Weatherwatch analyst Philip Duncan says a major winter storm that is due to hit New Zealand mid-week is coming to us from the same area as Antarctica New Zealand's Scott Base.  The temperature is due to drop to negative 40 degrees celcius at Scott Base while in New Zealand wind chill factors will make it feel between negative 5 and negative 15 in the deep south.  More.

First NZARI funded projects announced

NZARI, the New Zealand Antarctic Research Institute, has announced the results of it's first funding round.  Seven new projects will be funded to investigate how Antarctica and its surrounding ice shelves and oceans will respond to warming climate.  Link to press releaseLink to TV3.  Link to printLink to RadioNZ.

Kenn Borek Twin Otter plane crash inquest

An inquest into the deaths of three Canadians who died in a plane crash in Antarctica was held in Auckland today.  A New Zealand coroner is hearing the inquest and the Canadian Transport Board is investigating the crash.  Antarctica New Zealand extends its condolences to the men's families.  Link to print.  Link to 3news. 

Air bubbles in Antarctic ice track climate change

New Zealand NIWA scientists are using data from blocks of Antarctic ice to analyse the effect of climate change. Air bubbles from the ice cores can be investigated to show the changing levels of carbon dioxide emissions.  Link to release.  Link to OneNews (21:34)

Strategic Science in Antarctica conference programme released

Following a large response to the call for abstracts, the joint Australian Antarctic Division and Antarctica New Zealand committee has developed a conference programme that will accommodate 100 talks in 10 themes with 100 posters on display. Fourteen post-conference workshops will canvas topics including science leadership, science communication, science under the ice and science into policy. 

Among the highlights of the conference will be eight keynote presentations including Professor Gary Wilson, New Zealand Antarctic Research Institute; Professor Tim Naish, Victoria University of Wellington and Dr Neil Gilbert, Antarctica New Zealand.

To register or find out more, please visit the conference website:  http://conference.antarctica.gov.au

Smart science: Chilly landscape harbours a million clues to our destiny

New Zealand Herald's science reporter Jamie Morton looks at important clues for our planet's future uncovered from Antarctica's Dry Valleys.  Swept by winds reaching up to 320km/h, Antarctica's Dry Valleys rank among the most extreme and uninhabitable deserts on Earth.  The biodiversity that exists within this bleak environment in one of the remote corners of our planet is thought to hold vital clues on how the continent will respond to climate change.  Waikato University biologist Professor Craig Cary (who is also Director of ICTAR - the International Centre for Terrestrial Antarctic Research) and his team are, with support from Antarctica New Zealand, at the forefront of ground-breaking research that has combined taxonomy and advanced DNA technology to lift the lid on Antarctica's little-understood biological diversity.   Link to print.

Antarctic Arts Fellow Jae Hoon Lee exhibits in Auckland

Untouched as Unknown features digitally rebuilt landscapes from two different locations; Nepal and Antarctica, where artist Jae Hoon Lee was an Arts Fellow. Lee’s confronting and seamless photographic landscapes are composed from numerous individual images taken over a period of time, his images both document a place and create an imaginary one.

Untouched as Unknown is being shown at Corban Estate Arts Centre in Auckland from 17 May – 16 June 2013. 

Link to galleryLink to artist.

Commemorating 60 years since Sir Ed's ascent of Everest

Antarctica New Zealand staff at both Christchurch and Scott Base have got together to mark the 60th Anniversary of Sir Edmond Hillary's ascent of Everest.  

Antarctica New Zealand's Winter Base Leader, Becky Goodsell, and Winter Field Support, Mike Rowe, set off from Scott Base at 8am this morning in minus 45 degrees celcius to hike one of Sir Ed's favourite recreational routes behind the base to the 335m summit of Crater Hill.  Wearing full protective clothing and carrying the signed ice axe that he donated to the base on one of his many trips they proudly placed the New Zealand flag to honour his achievement 60 years ago.

Christchurch staff gathered wearing the same jackets as their Scott Base colleagues in the International Antarctic Attraction's "snow storm room" which was opened by Sir Ed in 2003.  They took a moment to reflect and celebrate his achievements while experiencing the temperature drop from plus 18 to minus 18 degrees celcius, simulating conditions that he would have been experienced both on his trips to Everest and to Antarctica.

Link to audioLink to printLink to CTV (2:10).  Link to TVNZ (14:00).

Southern Lights dazzle Scott Base

Staff wintering in at Antarctica's Scott Base were left dazzled when the Southern Lights danced upon the darkened skies over the white continent.  

Base mechanic Lex McKenzie, spending his second winter on ice, said the spectacles were a treat of the season.  "The Aurora's I have seen here are simply amazing, you never know if or when you will see another one due to the extreme weather we can get here over the winter, so when we do see an aurora we always make an effort to watch it and make the most of this special experience."  Link to story.

International Day for Biological Diversity - Antarctic Dry Valleys: the antithesis of a barren desert

The United Nations has proclaimed May 22 the International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues.  Recent ground-breaking research on the Antarctic Continent which combines traditional taxonomy with DNA technology has discovered that Antarctic communities are more biologically diverse than previously thought.    Last season, supported by Antarctica New Zealand, a team of Waikato University scientists and students from the International Centre for Terrestrial Antarctic Research (ICTAR), led by Professor Craig Cary, returned to the Dry Valleys and spent several weeks collecting samples as part of the New Zealand Terrestrial Antarctic Biocomplexity Survey (NZTABS).

"Historically, the Dry Valleys were thought to be a low-diversity system, mainly as on the surface it looks like a barren desert.   However it’s actually the absolute antithesis of that.  It has a rich biodiversity" explains Professor Cary.  Full release.

Hannibal Hayes: NZ's foremost chopper rescue pilot

Reporter Samantha Hayes talks with helicopter pilot Richard 'Hannibal' Hayes, who has made around 3000 rescues.  Richard Hayes was recently awarded a contract by Antarctica New Zealand to work in Antarctica supporting the operations and logistics of the New Zealand Antarctic Science Programme and support scientists in the field.  Link to video.

'What I do': Scott Base Winter Leader live chat

Ever wondered what it's like to work in Antarctica? Now's your chance to find out.  NZ Herald online is running a live chat "What I do" series every Tuesday from 12pm-1pm and first up is Antarctica New Zealand's Becky Goodsell.  Becky, who is running New Zealand's Scott Base over the winter, will be chatting live from Antarctica from 12pm on Tuesday 6th May to answer your questions about what it's like to live and work on the ice continent after its plunge into 24/7 darkness.  Link to story and review the chat.

Antarctic proposal confirmed as one of the 10 National Science Challenges

Prime Minister John Key and Hon Steven Joyce, Minister of Science and Innovation, today announced the final 10 National Science Challenges.  The ten research areas identified as New Zealand's first National Science Challenges include the Antarctic proposal "The Deep South – understanding the role of the Antarctic and the Southern Ocean in determining our climate and our future environment".  Full release.  Government release.

ANZAC Day dawnless service in Antarctica

The Anzac spirit was felt as far away as the icy continent  yesterday, as Antarctica New Zealand's team at Scott Base turned out for a dawn  service, despite not having a dawn.  Antarctica New Zealand's Mechanic at Scott Base, Lex McKenzie,  spoke to Firstline about the commemorations in low-light, -43degC  temperatures.  More.

The sun bids adieu to Ross Island

Antarctica New Zealand's Scott Base staff watched the sunset at lunchtime today as Antarctica heads towards the winter months and the permanent darkness it brings with it. While most of us take sunsets for granted, the overwinter team didn't want to miss the last rays of sunlight as they won't see the sun above the horizon again until August 19, due to Antarctica's position at the tip of the globe.  Link to NewstalkZB audioLink to print

Earth Day premier of Thin Ice movie

Earth Day, 22 April, was a logical day to premier the movie Thin Ice – the Inside Story of Climate Science around the globe. To support the launch at Te Papa in Wellington, Antarctica New Zealand linked with Christchurch City Council to screen the film to mark the start of the City's IceFest 2014 festival.  Forty of the key participants in the first IceFest gathered at the International Antarctic Centre to meet the team and watch the film.  The film screened in over 200 locations across the globe including New Zealand, American, Australian and British bases in Antarctica.  Link to interview.  Link to Film.

Coolest jobs and a priceless view

For some, the thought of working in the Antarctic Circle can be a bit like marmite; you either love the idea or hate it! Those who have worked on the ice though are adamant that it was the best experience of their lives and a real honour to have worked in such a pristine, unique environment.  Following in the footsteps of pioneers like Sir Ed Hillary, applications open today for fixed term jobs at Antarctica New Zealand’s Scott Base for summer only and winter-overing positions.  Link to video.  Link to press release.

New ice cores may show how long the Ross Ice Shelf will last

New Zealand researchers analysing hundreds of ice cores from Antarctica's Roosevelt Island hope they will help pin down how long the Ross Ice Shelf may hold together at the current rate of climate change.  Professor Gary Wilson - Director of NZARI, talks to Radio New Zealand's morning report.  Link to audio.

Tourism threatens pristine Antarctic environment

Environmentalists are calling for tougher regulations in Antarctica as tourism numbers continue to rise and visitors want to do more than just look at wildlife from ships.   Increasingly they want to go ashore for adventure tourism and hiking which significantly increases the risk to the fragile Antarctic continent.  TV3 reporter Jessica Rowe interviews Dr Neil Gilbert - Antarctica New Zealand's Manager Environment and Dr Daniela Liggett - Gateway Antarctica Lecture.   Link to video.

Antarctic team digs deep to predict climate future

Nancy Bertler and her team took a freezer to the coldest place on Earth, endured weeks of primitive living and risked spending the winter in Antarctic darkness, to obtain ice that records our climate's past that could point to its future.  The ice shelf acts as a natural barrier protecting massive amounts of ice in West Antarctica, and that ice also could fall into the ocean if the shelf fell apart. Scientists say West Antarctica holds enough ice to raise sea levels by between 2 metres and 6 metres if significant parts of it were to collapse.  More.

$500k in new funding available for Antarctic Research

The New Zealand Antarctic Research Institute (NZARI), launched in 2012 to provide a new platform for New Zealand-wide collaborative effort in Antarctic and Southern Ocean Research, has just opened its first call for proposals funded from private donations. More.

Winners and losers as climate change hits Antarctica

Antarctic scientists say climate change is affecting the region's Adelie penguins in varied ways, with some thriving while others in alternate locations are disappearing. TV3 reporter Samantha Hayes flew to Cape Bird, Antarctica, where 160,000 Adelie penguins reside and was told by Landcare Research ecologist Phil Lyver that he expects to lose 70% of the region's population in the coming 30-40 years. He discusses how the loss of sea ice is affecting penguin colonies.  Link to video.

NZARI Director explains why Antarctic and Southern Ocean research is important to New Zealand

Interviewed by 95bFM's Georgia Moselen-Sloog today NZARI (New Zealand Antarctic Institute) Director, Professor Gary Wilson, says New Zealand's economy is largely reliant on the environment. The establishment and focus of NZARI on Antarctica and the Southern Ocean is largely attributable to concerns about the environment.  There is potential for Antarctica to directly affect New Zealand's environment which needs to be better understood by focussing research effort on understanding the continent's reaction to global warming and its effect on New Zealand. These issues are of global interest but New Zealand is well placed to conduct this important research. Link to audio.

Radio NZ explores New Zealand's changing role on the ice

Radio NZ's Environment Reporter, Olivia Wix, explores New Zealand's changing role on the ice, and whether it can continue to be a key player. Link to audio.

Government aiming to pull out all the stops for Ross Sea

The Minister for Foreign Affairs says the government will do everything possible to ensure plans for the world's largest marine protected area go ahead.  Link to audio.

Antarctica New Zealand and Landcare Research partner to develop an Antarctic Environments Portal

The great continent of Antarctica faces a wide range of complicated environmental challenges both now and in the future. Research is vital to understanding how Antarctica and the Southern Ocean will respond to a rapidly changing planet and making high quality, scientific information that is easily and quickly available for decisionmakers is vital.  Antarctica New Zealand and Landcare Research are today signing an agreement to collaborate on a project that will support a closer link between Antarctic scientists and Antarctic decision makers. Link to video.  Link to audio.  Link to press release.

Antarctica's warming temperatures make plane landings impossible

New Zealand officials have warned that access to Antarctica is becoming more precarious as warming temperatures damaged the ice runways, making it impossible to land New Zealand Air Force planes.

Wheeled aircraft were unable to land at the Pegasus Runway for two months this summer, and New Zealand had to depend on ski-equipped US planes to get scientists and other workers to and from Scott Base.  More.

Antarctica: NZ's Final Flight for 2012/2013

The New Zealand Defence Force's summer season support to the Antarctic region has drawn to a close with the final RNZAF Boeing 757 ice flight.  Link to video.

Call for abstracts: Strategic Science in Antarctica

Registration and call for abstracts is now open for the ‘Strategic Science in Antarctica’ conference to be held at the University of Tasmania in Hobart from 24-26 June 2013.  The inaugural conference is the result of a collaboration between the Australian Antarctic Division and Antarctica New Zealand, and will feature a number of key note speakers, science presentations, poster displays and social functions.  More.

Erebus glacier sheds huge slab of ice

Several kilometres of ice have broken off the Erebus glacier ice tongue, which sticks out into McMurdo Sound in Antarctica.  The long thin tongue is thought to have calved three times in the 20th century, with the first of those occasions witnessed by Members of Robert F Scott's Terra Nova expedition during a gale in 1911.  More.

Biocomplexity survey in Antarctica

A team of Waikato University scientists and students has completed a successful research trip to Antarctica.  Led by Professor Craig Cary, a team of 16 spent several weeks collecting samples in the Dry Valleys as part of the New Zealand Terrestrial Antarctic Biocomplexity Survey.  More.

An Ice Relay for Cancer - update

At 7am this morning, 35 staff and supporters at Antarctica New Zealand's Scott Base completed 139 laps of the Relay for Life course, covering a total distance of 229km and a vertical climb of 12,510m (roughly equivalent to over three times the height of Erebus).  More.

An Ice Relay for Cancer

Staff and supporters at Antarctica New Zealand’s Scott Base will pound a track near the world’s biggest ice shelf for 12 hours this weekend in a chilly cancer awareness event - the first Cancer Society New Zealand Relay For Life to be held on the ice.  More.

Kenn Borek Twin Otter - update

Officials with the U.S. Antarctic Program and Antarctica New Zealand have jointly decided to recall search-and-rescue teams from the site of an Antarctic aircraft crash after examination of the plane indicated that it would be unsafe at this point to further disturb the wreckage that is largely embedded in snow and ice on a steep mountain slope.  More.

Kenn Borek Twin Otter

On behalf of Antarctica New Zealand, I wish to extend our deepest sympathizes to the families of the Kenn Borek Air Twin Otter crew, whose deaths have recently been confirmed.  We remained hopeful throughout the search process that the vastly experienced crew would have survived.  More.

Prime Minister to visit Antarctica

Prime Minister John Key will visit Antarctica from 17 to 21 January to highlight New Zealand’s interests and activities in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.  Mr Key will visit New Zealand science and environmental management programmes, view New Zealand’s historic hut conservation projects, and participate in a ceremony celebrating the installation of Maori artwork at Scott Base.  More.

Kiwis to toast Sir Ed's Antarctic adventure

Today a group will gather together in the Trans-Antarctic Expedition (TAE) hut, the original Scott Base building which Sir Ed and his team set off from on their trip to the pole.  Antarctica New Zealand [acting] operations and infrastructure manager Graeme Ayres, whose mountaineer father Harry Ayres was on the expedition, said the journey marked his childhood.  More.