A film documenting a gruelling New Zealand Arctic expedition.
Watch ‘In Nansen’s Footsteps’ here.
‘In Nansen’s Footsteps’ follows young Antipodeans as they ski 560 kilometres to cross the Greenland icecap towing 60 kilogram sleds.
In Nansen’s Footsteps premiered at the prestigious New York The Explorers Club Polar Film Festival on the evening of 24 January 2019.
The Explorers Club is a 114-year-old global network of explorers. Its famed membership has included Sir Edmund Hillary, Tensing Norgay, Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Roald Amundsen.
In Nansen’s Footsteps was made as part of the Antarctic Heritage Trust’s third Inspiring Explorers’ Expedition. The film was shot and directed by Australia’s Keith Parsons. He was one of four young people selected for the Antarctic Heritage Trust’s 2018 Inspiring Explorers’ Expedition, along with well-known Kiwis Brando Yelavich and Hollie Woodhouse and fellow Australian Bridget Kruger. Belmont Productions in Christchurch produced the film.
Keith says having the film premiere at such the prestigious Explorers’ Club is an honour and reward for the enormous challenges he faced in making it.
“This was a difficult project. The adventure was unfolding in real time, there were no second takes, no setups … it was all action. I constantly battled to keep the batteries warm and charged and the gear frost-free. It was an unforgettable experience though and I think the film has an authenticity borne out of those limitations.”
Led by Trust Executive Director Nigel Watson and guided by Ousland Explorers master guide Bengt Rotmo, the expedition was in part supported by Australasian outdoors company Kathmandu. The expedition honoured Fridtjof Nansen. A Norwegian polar explorer and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Nansen completed the first crossing of Greenland in 1888.
Nigel Watson says the film captures the highs and lows of the 28-day journey.
“There were times of utter elation with breath-taking sights, but also some very challenging periods including storms and significant snowfall.”
As well as numerous storms, the team pushed on through illness and fatigue … even developing a taste for the pounds of butter they had to eat to maintain their energy levels.
“We had to dig deep (literally at times!) to get through this journey, but it helped deliver on the Antarctic Heritage Trust’s goal of Inspiring Explorers.”
The film includes some incredible drone footage which captures the beauty of an area few viewers are likely to travel to.
“We hope people around the world will see this film, be inspired by Nansen’s story and take the opportunity to get out and explore this amazing world we live in.”
Antarctic Heritage Trust is delighted to have their ‘Still Life’, which is a unique audio-visual immersive experience that allows you to ‘step inside’ the historic huts of the British Antarctic explorers, open as part of the Korea National Maritime Museum’s new Antarctic exhibition.
Complementing the experience are Jane Ussher’s large scale photographs. The exhibition runs at the museum in Busan until March 2019.More than 100 years ago famous explorers Captain Robert Falcon Scott and Sir Ernest Shackleton travelled to Antarctica to explore the continent and carry out scientific experiments. They constructed three simple wooden huts as bases that still stand today, packed full of objects the men left behind. This remarkable legacy is cared for by the Antarctic Heritage Trust who are world leaders in cold-climate conservation. A century on, renowned New Zealand photographer Jane Ussher photographed the huts in intimate detail, creating an extraordinary record of the explorers’ lives. Her evocative photographs capture the conditions and isolation the men endured exploring Antarctica.
Still Life was originally developed by Antarctic Heritage Trust and Jane Ussher in conjunction with the Christchurch City Council, New Zealand.
As part of a new partnership with Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate, Antarctic Heritage Trust is taking two Year 13 students kayaking in Antarctica with a kiwi Olympian.
Mele Fetu’u and Lana Kiddie-Vai will be on the Trust’s fourth Inspiring Explorers’ expedition in early 2019.
The team will travel to the Antarctic Peninsula from South America aboard a One Ocean Expeditions vessel as part of a scheduled expedition.
Trust Executive Director Nigel Watson, who will lead the expedition, says it will be an unforgettable experience.
“Antarctica has the power to change lives. As well as exploring that magnificent place and learning about the legacy we care for, our Inspiring Explorers will go kayaking under the mentoring of Olympian Mike Dawson and the One Ocean Expeditions’ team. We are very excited.”
More young people aged between 18-30 will also be on the expedition… they are currently being selected from hundreds of applications nationwide.
Nigel Watson says the Trust and Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate have a special connection.
“The school cares for Sir Edmund’s former home in New Zealand (which is now a leadership centre on the Collegiate’s grounds) and the Trust cares for his former home in Antarctica. We share a genuine sense of kaitiakitanga for Sir Edmund’s legacy.”
Nigel and Olympic kayaker and youth ambassador Mike Dawson met the students for the first time last week, at an event held at Hillary House, to celebrate the partnership between the Trust and the Collegiate. Mike says it was a special moment meeting Mele and Lana.
“To get to meet these amazing young people and their families inside the study of Sir Ed’s old home, with members of the Hillary family there, felt pretty special.”
Lana says the reality of going to Antarctica for the first time is already starting to set in for the two Collegiate students.
“I’m really excited but I’m also a bit nervous. It’s going to be so cold! But that is all what makes it an adventure.”
Through sponsorship provided by the Woolf Fisher Trust, the Trust is also bringing a young teacher from the Collegiate on the expedition. The teacher will be announced along with the rest of the expedition participants in early 2019.
This is the Trust’s fourth Inspiring Explorers’ Expedition following a crossing of South Georgia in 2015, the summiting of Mt Scott in 2017, and the successful 560km crossing of the Greenland ice cap earlier this year. The Trust is partnering with One Ocean Expeditions for the 2019 expedition.
Re-introducing Scott Base Central Otago Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir Reserve and Chardonnay
Intrepid spirits across Aotearoa already count Scott Base wines amongst their favourite drops and now these old friends are getting a new look.
The new labels reflect the unpretentious quality for which Scott Base vineyard is well known. “Sophisticated and unfussy – just like the contents of the bottle,” says Director of Wine Josh Scott.
“The brand has really matured in the last few years and we wanted the bottles to show that. Of course, we wouldn’t dream of changing the wine itself, these are family favourites and there would be mutiny at the dinner table!”
Although the vineyard was named in honour of treasured Scott family holiday memories, the serendipitous link to Sir Ed’s legacy in Antarctica has become a key touchstone as the vineyard continues its partnership with the Antarctic Heritage Trust.
“Our family always celebrated big events with trips to the Otago region. Heading south always feels like sliding into home base. The Antarctic connection in the name was a happy accident and it’s allowed us to organically develop a really rewarding partnership with the Antarctic Heritage Trust,” says Scott.
For more than a decade, the Scott family has supported the trust, which cares for the remarkable expedition bases of early Antarctic explorers, including Captain Robert Falcon Scott, Sir Ernest Shackleton and Sir Edmund Hillary. Scott Base (the wine, that is) donates a percentage of all sales of their premium product to the trust and provides wine to events and ongoing activities.
With a single vineyard nestled in the heart of Central Otago, overlooking Lake Dunstan and framed by the majestic Pisa Range, Scott Base wines are the epitome of rugged sophistication.
The Cromwell vineyard offers wines made only in small quantities, carefully crafted to give full expression to their regional characters. With absolute focus on harvesting only the best fruit by hand, the wine has a velvety depth and intensity unique to the Scott Base range.
“Our avid customers can be assured our wines are the same delicious drops they know and love – and now they’re sporting a modern new look,” says Scott.
The Scott Base Pinot Noir is particularly memorable, exhibiting classic Central Otago aromatics of ripe cherries, raspberries and wild thyme. The palate is full of primary fruits and finishes with smooth tannins and oaky sweetness for a pleasing finish. Ideal with pâtés and peppery Italian cured meats, the Pinot also matches beautifully with beef and lamb dishes, while those with a sweet tooth are encouraged to try it with a rich, dark chocolate dessert.
The new-look Scott Base Pinot Noir, Pinot Noir Reserve and Chardonnay are on sale now at fine wine retailers across Aotearoa, online or – if you’re up for an adventure – straight from the cellar door.
They’ve done it! The Inspiring Explorers have completed the epic crossing of the Greenland ice cap
They’ve battled hurricane conditions, heavy snowfalls and illness, but the 6-person Antarctic Heritage Trust Inspiring Explorers’ Expedition has reached the finish line of their 560-kilometre crossing of the Greenland ice cap.
They made the journey on skis while pulling 60-kilogram supply sleds behind them.
The New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust selected four young explorers for the expedition from a pool of nearly 200 applicants. Two Kiwis; Brando Yelavich (24) and Hollie Woodhouse (33) and two Australians; Bridget Kruger (30) and Keith Parsons (28). They were joined by AHT Executive Director Nigel Watson and Ousland Polar Exploration master polar guide Bengt Rotmo.The team left the west coast of Greenland on May 4 and arrived in the small village of Tasiilaq (on Greendland’s east coast) on Saturday, 2 June. Hollie, Brando and Nigel are now enroute to New Zealand.
The crossing is the Trust’s third Inspiring Explorers’ Expedition and proved to be the most challenging one yet.
Nigel Watson says the team’s final day saw them ski for 21 hours.
“We set off at 10am. A possible polar bear sighting had us on edge, but it turned out to be an illusion! We continued to ski and eventually saw mountains – there was great excitement after seeing nothing but a flat, white horizon for weeks. We stopped for a hot meal at 1am before reaching the end of our journey at 7am – there were hugs and tears of relief.”
A helicopter then picked up the team and took them to Tasiilaq.
Hollie says arriving into the village was unbelievable.
“The relief in finishing is immense and to finally walk on solid ground after 4 weeks of skiing was a strange feeling. We stayed in a great hotel, dinner was nothing fancy but it was the best. Being warm, showered and seeing each other’s faces properly for the first time in 4 weeks was an odd experience.”
Keith says finishing the journey is bittersweet.
“On the one hand we have accomplished something rather special and momentous, but at the same time it means the end of the experience and everything that went with it: the ice, the struggle and mostly the time together with friends.”Brando, who completed the first solo circumnavigation of New Zealand’s coastline, says the expedition has been tough.
“Physically my biggest challenge was my joints and my feet adjusting to the repetition and the pulling of the sled for 29 consecutive days. Mentally I was consumed by the repetition… the walking and the white were mind numbing at times. It was a great mental challenge”.
Bridget, who has worked for years as an outdoor instructor and adventure therapist all over the world, says this journey was bigger than anything she has done before.
“It was a huge journey that I was really able to delve into because I wasn’t a guide, just a client with the space to really be me and deal with the massive mental and physical challenges we faced. I’ve never done a winter expedition of this length before with this extent of conditions so it was an incredible opportunity to grow through that.
The Expedition honoured Fridtjof Nansen, the renowned polar explorer and humanitarian, who completed the first crossing of Greenland 130 years ago in 1888.
New Zealand outdoors company Kathmandu are an expedition sponsor, with the team road testing their new XT Series, designed for extreme environments.
Once home, they will begin tailored outreach programmes supported by the Trust, with the aim of sharing their experiences, and encouraging others to get out and explore.
Trust Executive Director Nigel Watson says that will be the most important part of the expedition.
“The whole reason the Trust undertakes these expeditions is to encourage people to get out and explore the amazing world we live in. By sharing their story, the team has the opportunity to inspire someone else to do something they never have before – an experience that could be life changing.”
The Trust raised nearly a million dollars to save the hut, also known as the TAE/IGY Hut, which was built by a team under Sir Ed’s leadership in 1957 just before his famous dash to the South Pole. The fundraising campaign included a 2012-kilometre tractor journey from Piha Beach to Mount Cook, collecting donations on the way.
The team are now thrilled to have completed conservation work on an iconic piece of Kiwi history.
New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust programme manager Al Fastier says it’s been a long and successful road to save the hut and conserve the hundreds of artefacts within it.
“As a historic site, its significance is that it’s the birthplace of New Zealand’s presence in Antarctica and the link to Sir Ed’s famous tractor trip to the South Pole.”New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust programme manager Al Fastier says it’s been a long and successful road to save the hut and conserve the hundreds of artefacts within it.
“As a historic site, its significance is that it’s the birthplace of New Zealand’s presence in Antarctica and the link to Sir Ed’s famous tractor trip to the South Pole.”
While working to conserve Hillary’s Hut last season, the need for a weather-tight long-term roofing solution was identified.
Fastier says the Trust wanted the roofing solution to last a minimum of 35 years but more likely 50 to 100 years. A plan was then developed to overclad the historic roof, meaning the original roof remained intact.A key feature of the newly restored hut is the painted aluminium roof, complete with new battens painted in the original bright orange.
“It gives it a real point of difference,” says Fastier, a long time visitor to the ice.
For Fastier, there was an even greater connection to the restoration effort, New Zealand and Hillary, given he slept in the hut on his first trip to the ice in 1987.As if the project itself did not provide enough of a challenge, the team had to work around extreme weather systems that included snow and wind storms.
Temperatures averaged -8 to 15 degrees Celsius during the project, with a few -25 and -30 degree Celsius days thrown into the mix.
For specialist Standing Seam roofer, Mike Burgess, the conditions provided a job unlike anything he had ever tackled.
“I’ve never been that cold,” says Burgess, who had to race indoors on the odd occasion to regain feeling in his hands.
The project manager for Architectural Metalformers is used to working through complicated roofing projects in rural, commercial and urban environments in and around Auckland – and less so in the world’s harshest environment.
When he was granted the opportunity to join the conservation effort, Burgess did not hesitate to accept.
“The opportunity to waterproof such an important New Zealand building with our product, while endeavouring to make it visually similar to the original aesthetic could not be passed up, regardless of the weather complexities,” Burgess says.
Not one to opt out of a challenge, Burgess combined his more than 20 years in the business, with further research, to come up with the robust long term waterproof roofing solution.
Burgess and Architectural Metalformers offered their time free of charge.
Having now returned from the ice, Burgess remains under the Antarctic spell.
“It’s been an experience that I will never forget, images and my words certainly don’t do it justice” he says.
“The scale, beauty and the history of the Antarctic – I’ve been bitten by the bug.”
Burgess and the Trust would also like to thank Pacific Coilcoaters, Sika NZ and Nexus Foams for their donated products and technical assistance.
Antarctic Heritage Trust conservators found a 100 year old fruit cake among the artefacts from Cape Adare.
Conservation treatment involved rust removal, chemical stabilisation and coating of the tin remnants. Deacidification of the tin label and some physical repair to the torn paper wrapper and tin label was also carried out. The cake itself was in excellent condition. Programme Manager-Artefacts Lizzie Meek said “With just two weeks to go on the conservation of the Cape Adare artefacts, finding such a perfectly preserved fruitcake in amongst the last handful of unidentified and severely corroded tins was quite a surprise. It’s an ideal high-energy food for Antarctic conditions, and is still a favourite item on modern trips to the Ice.”
Since May 2016, a team of four conservators have been working in the Canterbury Museum lab on the conservation of Antarctic artefacts from Cape Adare. The team recently finished the large project in July this year, conserving almost 1500 artefacts. The Trust is now planning to begin the conservation work on the buildings at Cape Adare. The huts were built by Norwegian Carsten Borchgrevink’s expedition in 1899 and later used by Captain Scott’s party in 1911. The buildings were the first in Antarctica and are the only examples left of humanity’s first building on any continent. The permit the Trust was granted to collect the artefacts stipulates that all of the items must be returned to the site following conservation, in accordance with the site’s status as an Antarctic Specially Protected Area (ASPA). This will happen once the huts themselves have been restored. The Trust is very grateful for the support it receives from its funders, Norwegian Government, Canterbury Museum for its facilities and logistical support from Antarctica New Zealand to get the artefacts out of and back to Cape Adare. Check out the Huntley and Palmers online archive.
New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust has discovered an almost perfectly preserved 118 year old watercolour painting among penguin-excrement, dust and mould covered papers found in an historic hut at Cape Adare, Antarctica.
The water colour was painted by Dr Edward Wilson who died with Captain Robert Falcon Scott and three others on their return from the South Pole in 1912.
“I opened it and there was this gorgeous painting… I got such a fright that I jumped and shut the portfolio again. I then took the painting out and couldn’t stop looking at it – the colours, the vibrancy, it is such a beautiful piece of work. I couldn’t believe it was there.” The painting is labelled ‘1899 Tree Creeper’ and has the initial ‘T’ on it. It depicts a Tree Creeper bird specimen. The discovery was made in September 2016, but has been kept confidential until now to enable the team to focus on restoring all of the 1,500 artefacts from Cape Adare.
The Trust’s Programme Manager – Artefact Conservation, Lizzie Meek says it wasn’t immediately clear who the artist was given that two expeditions had based themselves at Cape Adare. “The Cape Adare huts were built by Norwegian Carsten Borchgrevink’s expedition in 1899 and later used by Captain Scott’s party in 1911. We knew the artist was likely to be among the men on those expeditions,” says Lizzie.
As the Trust was working to identify the artist, Josefin attended a lecture at Canterbury University on Dr Wilson. “The presenter showed some of Dr Wilson’s artwork… as soon as I saw his distinctive handwriting, I knew he had painted the Tree Creeper. This made sense as there was also a 1911 newspaper article from the Lyttelton Times in the papers and Scott’s party went to Antarctica via New Zealand.”
Lizzie Meek says Dr Wilson was a remarkable man. “He was not only a talented painter, but a scientist and a medical doctor who was an integral member of both of Scott’s expeditions to the Ice.” Josefin is not surprised the painting survived in such excellent condition. “Water colour paintings are particularly susceptible to light so the fact this work has spent more than a hundred years tightly packed between other sheets of paper in completely dark and cold conditions is actually an ideal way to store it.” Lizzie Meek says how the painting came to be in the hut is still something of a mystery. “It’s likely that Wilson painted it while he was recovering from tuberculosis in Europe. Clearly, he could have taken the painting to Antarctica on either of Scott’s expeditions but we think it’s more likely the artwork travelled with him in 1911, and somehow made its way from Cape Evans to Cape Adare.”
The permit the Trust was granted to collect the artefacts stipulates that all of the items must be returned to the site following conservation, in accordance with the site’s status as an Antarctic Specially Protected Area (ASPA). This will happen once the huts themselves have been restored. The Trust’s General Manager Operations and Communications, Francesca Eathorne says finding the painting is a poignant reminder of the inspiring legacy the early polar explorers left behind. “More than a century later we are still sharing stories about those expeditions. We’ve been able to create a high quality facsimile of the painting so we are now looking forward to sharing it with the rest of the world. We are in no doubt this will attract global interest – particularly from our friends in the UK.” Visit Cheltenham’s art gallery and museum The Wilson: www.cheltenhammuseum.org.uk