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Minister to visit Antarctic heritage sites

Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry will travel to Antarctica tomorrow to visit Scott Base and the historic explorer’s huts in the Ross Dependency.

Ms Barry travels as a guest of the Antarctic Heritage Trust and will be accompanied by chair Mark Stewart, executive director Nigel Watson and Paul James, chief executive of the Ministry for Culture & Heritage.

“The trust is charged with the protection of the historic explorer’s huts in the Ross Dependency, including the hut built in 1957 for Sir Edmund Hillary’s Trans-Antarctic Expedition, New Zealand’s first base in Antarctica,” Ms Barry says.

“I am looking forward to learning more about the conservation of Hillary’s Hut and the others cared for by the trust. The trust is recognised internationally for its outstanding work in an extraordinarily challenging environment.”

In addition, Ms Barry’s party will visit Captain Scott’s huts at Cape Evans and Hut Point, and Sir Ernest Shackleton’s hut at Cape Royds.

“The historic feats of Scott, Shackleton and Hillary, and the wider story of human exploration in Antarctica, are examples of endurance, bravery and unbelievable determination.”

“I also want to gain insights into New Zealand’s role in the Antarctic, meet New Zealanders involved in this work, and hear more about the newly-declared Ross Sea Marine Protected Area, which will become the largest on earth.”

New Zealand had a leading role in negotiations around this Marine Protected Area, which will see more than 1.55 million square kilometres of pristine polar ocean protected.

The Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR) unanimously agreed to a New Zealand-United States proposal to establish the MPA last month.

“As a nation we should be proud of the part we’ve had in making this MPA happen – it’s incredibly important for the ongoing preservation of what remains the world’s last true frontier,” Ms Barry says.

Updated on 22nd November 2016