“Antarctica and New Zealand share a long and rich history”, said Dr Bronwyn Dalley, Chief Historian, Ministry for Culture and Heritage.
A new feature on NZHistory.net.nz tells the stories of the people, events and places associated with Antarctica and New Zealand in a journey of time.
Read about New Zealander Clarence Hare, a steward on Scott’s Discovery expedition; of the first long distance flights into Antarctica from New Zealand; or of New Zealand’s involvement in caring for the huts of the first explorers in the Ross Sea region, and many more stories.
The collection of stories is complemented by an annotated timeline which provides an overview of links between New Zealand and the Antarctic - from Abel Tasman’s 1642 voyage in search of the 'great southern continent' to the present day.
“New Zealanders took part in Antarctic exploration from the mid-19th century, initially as members of other nations' expeditions. The first was probably Tuati, who sailed on a United States-led voyage in 1839-40. Another New Zealander, Alexander Von Tunzelmann, possibly became the first man to set foot on the Antarctic mainland with a Norwegian-led expedition in 1895,” said Dr Dalley.
“In the 20th century overseas explorers on their way to the Antarctic – including Robert Falcon Scott, Ernest Shackleton and Richard E. Byrd – regularly visited New Zealand. They also took on New Zealanders as expedition members”.
“New Zealand became involved in Antarctica in its own right in the mid-20th century. Scott Base was established as part of the country's commitment to the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1955-58) and the International Geophysical Year (1957-58). Sir Edmund Hillary made his memorable ‘dash to the pole’, while New Zealand geologists explored 103,600 km² of uncharted territory. In 1979 Antarctica was the scene of one of this country's greatest catastrophes, the Erebus air disaster, which killed 257 people,” said Dr Dalley.
The website also includes a map of sites of shared Antarctic and New Zealand significance. Visitors are encouraged to suggest new sites or provide historical information or photographs of existing ones.
NZHistory.net.nz has drawn on collections from a wide range of institutions. Among the including historical photos and manuscripts from Canterbury Museum, radio recordings from Sound Archives, and film from Archives New Zealand.
You can test your knowledge by undertaking our online quiz.
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Updated on 23rd July 2015