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 […]
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
We are delighted to have won the International category of the 31st annual Dulux Colour Awards for Hillary’s Hut. Sixty years on from when Hillary’s (TAE/IGY) Hut was the first building at New Zealand’s Scott Base, its retro colours are again shining bright… In the whitest white of an Antarctic snow storm, finding shelter fast can be the difference between life and death. In 1957, the intense orange and yellow of Sir Edmund Hillary’s Hutat New Zealand’s Scott Base was a beacon to those caught out by the weather.
Hillary’s Hut, also known as the TAE/IGY Hut, was the first building erected at Scott Base. It was only recently returned to those original colours and last night won the International category ofthe 31stannual Dulux Colour Awards in Melbourne. Antarctic Heritage Trust Executive Director Nigel Watson says they’re delighted. “The award celebrates an iconic site and is recognition of the extreme lengths we went to, with Dulux, to recreate the original paintwork. This started with the careful stripping of the outer paint layers to reveal the original Berger colours and then working with Dulux to create an exact match.” The Trust’s team had the honour of naming the exterior colours mixed to match the originals:
- Pram Point –the yellow is named after the geographic location of Scott Base
- Sno-cat –after the orange tracked vehicles used on the Trans-Antarctic Expedition
The painting was undertaken as part of the Antarctic Heritage Trust’s conservation of Hillary’s Hut. Almost 600 artefacts were also conserved with the work completed in time for Scott Base’s 60th anniversary in January of this year.The Trust’s Programme Manager Al Fastier says the restoration was an enormous undertaking. “Painting in sub-zero conditions was a major challenge, with wind chill or storm conditions often making it impossible to work outside. With persistence and cold fingers, the team achieved a remarkable transformation -even using brushes rather than rollers to replicate a 1950’s finish.” Sir Edmund Hillary led the establishment of Scott Baseand ‘wintered over’ in the hutas part of New Zealand’s involvement with the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition and the International Geophysical Year. The hut was repainted green, along with the rest of Scott Base, in 1965/66. Nigel Watson says returning Hillary’s Hut to its original retro colours not only reflects its history, it makes a visible statement. “The bright, retro colours mean Hillary’s Hut stands out among the almost exclusively modern, green-painted buildings of Scott Base, drawing attention to its unique standing as the birthplace of Scott Base”. In addition to the exterior, the five main spaces inside the hut –mess room, radio room, Sir Ed’s room, the kitchen and cold porch –were all repainted in a multitude of colours, as specified on the original architectural plans. The Dulux Colour Awards are Australasia’s premier showcase of inspirational colour application in built environments
On Friday 20 January 2017 the residents of New Zealand’s Scott Base celebrated the base’s 60 year anniversary by taking a tour through the recently restored Hillary’s (TAE/IGY) Hut.
Antarctic Heritage Trust’s team of 12 worked more than 5700 hours on the major conservation of the building over the summer season. The work started in November 2016 following a successful fundraising campaign to save the site, the legacy of the Commonwealth Trans- Antarctic Expedition (1956-1958).
The New Zealand Government and Antarctica New Zealand asked the Trust to take on the care and conservation of the hut, including raising funds for its restoration and long term maintenance.
“It’s an iconic slice both of polar and Kiwi history that could have been lost. Now, thanks to our many supporters from around the world it will be there to inspire future generations to explore and push their boundaries like Sir Ed did,” says the Trust’s Executive Director Nigel Watson.
Extensive planning and research was undertaken by the Trust in preparation for the conservation work. Originally designed to last only twenty years, after sixty years the building had a number of issues including deteriorating asbestos wall and ceiling linings, a leaking roof, snow ingress, and melt water under the foundations.
Care was taken to retain and reinstate original building materials after the asbestos was removed. Where new material was essential, modern material was chosen that was as close as possible to the original finish and appearance.
The 1980’s pitched roof addition was removed and the original flat roof structure was reinstated. Exterior vents and flues were repaired and replaced. The Trust worked closely with Dulux New Zealand to match original TAE-era paint samples and colour swatches, before repainting the exterior and interior of the building in the bold shades of the 1950s.
Four young New Zealanders, including William Pike who lost his leg during the 2007 eruption of Mount Ruapehu, have just returned from successfully summiting Mt Scott, in Antarctica.
Pike was with film-maker Simon Lucas, Royal New Zealand Air Force officer Sylvie Admore and Newshub journalist Isobel Ewing.
The group was hand-picked from approximately 100 applicants for the Antarctic Heritage Trust’s second Inspiring Explorers’ Expedition, led by the Trust’s executive director Nigel Watson.
Nigel Watson says the trip’s biggest challenge on the guided ascent was route finding because of the poor visibility on the lower reaches of Mt Scott.“There was extensive crevassed country. Mt Scott itself is a beautiful peak, set in the most awe-inspiring vista. The team spent 24 hours completing the adventure and remained in good spirits throughout.”
The group travelled to and from Antarctica onboard the 117-metre vessel One Ocean Navigator,which is owned and operated by expedition partner One Ocean Expeditions.
The Inspiring Explorers’ initiative is about encouraging young people to connect with Antarctica’s history and the spirit of exploration. Mt Scott is named after Captain Robert Falcon Scott whose Antarctic legacy the Trust cares for.
“All of our participants will be working hard to share the story of their Antarctic adventure both online and in person –we hope this inspires other Kiwis to make the most of exploring this fantastic world we live in,” says Nigel Watson.