The Government will commit $180,000 towards urgent conservation work on Sir Ed Hillary’s historic hut at Scott Base in Antarctica, Arts, Culture and Heritage Minister Maggie Barry has announced.
Ms Barry visited the hut and made the announcement in person during her visit to Antarctica this week.
“This funding will allow the Antarctic Heritage Trust to complete vital restoration work on the hut in time for its 60th anniversary in eight weeks,” Ms Barry says.
Minister Maggie Barry inside Sir Ed Hillary's hut at Scott Base
Sir Ed’s team built the hut during the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition in January 1957. It was the first New Zealand base in the Ross Dependency and the origin of what became Scott Base itself.
The hut requires urgent repairs, careful removal of heritage asbestos material and the conservation and digitisation of 350 different objects inside.
“During my visit to Antarctica I’ve gained an insight into the extraordinary challenge of preserving heritage in what is one of the world’s most difficult working environments.
“The trust’s specialists bring the past alive through the use of digital technology and this project will enable them to make more of this vital history available online.”
While the Trust receives an annual operational grant from the Government, it also depends on fundraising to support its activities.
“Most recently, the Trust completed a journey from Piha to Aoraki/Mt Cook on three tractors – two of the same model used by Sir Ed’s team during their expedition,” Ms Barry says.
“Through this and other fundraising it raised $784,000 - $180,000 short of what is needed for the work. I am very pleased to be able to make this additional contribution to allow the Trust to reach its target.”
The Trust’s plan for the conservation of Hillary’s Hut was launched in March 2015 at a function attended by Prime Minister John Key, Ms Barry and surviving members of the TAE expedition.
For more on Hillary’s Hut visit www.nzaht.org/
Updated on 8th December 2016