2022 – Summit

The Young Inspiring Explorers™ Summit in June 2022 saw 20 year 7-9 students from across the country spend the weekend with the Antarctic Heritage Trust and Kiwi explorer William Pike.

Throughout the weekend, students challenged themselves and took part in Antarctic learning experiences including:

  • connecting with the US Amundsen-Scott South Pole research station (situated at the South Pole) via a zoom call and speaking with the station’s H&S Officer
  • weathering an Antarctic storm, riding in a Hagglund, and meeting huskies and penguins up close at the International Antarctic Centre
  • visiting Canterbury Museum and hearing tales of the early Antarctic Explorers’ hardships, achievements, and leadership, in the name of science, exploration, and survival
  • hauling an Antarctic sledge, and trying out Antarctic clothing from various era’s of Antarctic exploration
  • exploring Christchurch’s Antarctic connections and gateway status on a walking tour around the central city
  • experiencing a Virtual Reality tour of Sir Edmund Hillary’s Antarctic Hut.

The Young Inspiring Explorers™ documented their journey along the way so they could share what they learnt with their communities when they returned home.

Having completed the Summit, the students become members of the Antarctic Heritage Trust’s Alumni Programme.

The Young Inspiring Explorers™ Summit 2022 was generously sponsored by the US Embassy and Consulate in New Zealand.

Highlights from the Summit

20 students from 20 different schools around New Zealand, from as far north as Auckland and as far south as Stewart Island completed introductions at the Trust’s office full of enthusiasm, nerves and excitement. The programme commenced at the International Antarctic Centre where students rode the Hagglunds, experienced Antarctic storms, and met the huskies and penguins.

Throughout the day students absorbed Antarctic science and explorer stories and demonstrated their Antarctic knowledge, proving that their pre-programme learning had given them context and an appreciation of all things Antarctica.

The Young Inspiring Explorers™ accommodation was at the Omaka Scout Camp. The evening highlight was taking part in the Trust’s Virtual Reality experience of Sir Edmund Hillary’s Antarctic base. The VR experience transported the young explorers to Hillary’s 1957 home on the Ice, established to support the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1955-58) and the International Geophysical year (1957-58).

Sunday morning started with a special satellite link call with the US Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. The excitement was visible on the students faces as they were given a tour of the ‘spaceship’ like base and a peek outside into a minus 70 Celsius frozen moonlit landscape. Representatives from the US Embassy and Consulate in New Zealand joined the Young Inspiring Explorers™ for the call and presented to the group on the special relationship between Christchurch and the US Antarctic programme which has operated out of the city for the last 40 years.

At the Canterbury Museum the students were treated to a special briefing from the Museum’s Antarctic experts and viewed the unique artefacts from the heroic-era of exploration. Artefacts that Captain Robert Falcon Scott and Sir Ernest Shackleton used on their remarkable expeditions.

The Young Inspiring Explorers™ then strapped themselves into sledding harnesses and experienced a little of what it was like to haul equipment laden sledges in Antarctica. More excitement followed as the students donned Antarctic clothing from different decades and gained an understanding of how it has evolved and improved.

International Antarctic Centre General Manager David Kennedy then guided the students on a walking tour of special Christchurch City Antarctic landmarks. The tour finished at Bill Nye’s store Adventure Books at the Christchurch Arts Centre where students viewed some of the rare books and literature from the heroic-era of exploration.

Back at the Antarctic Heritage Trust, Inspiring Explorer William Pike debriefed the group encouraging them to continue to develop and share a passion for exploration. Our wonderful Young Inspiring Explorers™ then bid their new friends adieu and were escorted to their departure flights.

For many of the year 7-9 students this was their first experience away from home. They were exposed to a range of Antarctic experiences, history, science and exploration stories all within the supportive care of the Trust’s experienced facilitators. They left the weekend with a new-found confidence to deal with the challenges ahead of them and an understanding of the Trust’s conservation work in Antarctica and why it’s critical that those heritage sites continue to be cared for into the future.

We are proud to welcome the 20 newest explorers to Antarctic Heritage Trust’s Alumni Programme where they join the ranks of many Inspiring Explorers™ from programmes past.

Young Inspiring Explorers™ Summit Gallery