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Antarctic Peninsula 2020

INSPIRING EXPLORERS™ 2020

credit: Antarctic Heritage Trust

Antarctic Peninsula

The 2020 Inspiring Explorers’ Expedition™ team travelled to the Antarctic Peninsula in early March aboard a Quark Expeditions vessel, the Ocean Endeavour.

The expedition was led by Marcus Waters, the Trust’s General Manager Partnerships and Commercial, and ably supported by Olympic kayaker Mike Dawson, who joined for his second Inspiring Explorers’ Expedition™ as kayaking mentor. The team included five Inspiring Explorers™ selected from nationwide applications, two students from Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate and their Deputy Principal under an ongoing partnership. Three official supporters of the Trust joined the group as full fare-paying passengers.

During the voyage, they experienced the challenges and rewards of kayaking through pristine playgrounds of whales and seals, navigating between icebergs, and exploring glaciers and penguin colonies.

They faced a further challenge on the return from their Antarctic expedition as the COVID-19 pandemic escalated and brought about worldwide travel restrictions, and country-wide lockdowns, including in Argentina, which meant disruption to their journey back to New Zealand. The team managed this situation with excellent spirits and came together even more so as a team during an uncertain time, arriving safe and well six days after their scheduled return to New Zealand.

This expedition truly offered the young explorers a chance to push themselves in all sorts of ways, to connect with experts, and learn about Antarctica’s history, science, wildlife, and environment, as well as the legacy of exploration in Antarctica. Throughout the expedition and its challenging return trip, the team shared in the same spirit of exploration of the early polar explorers like Scott and Shackleton, whose remarkable legacy the Trust cares for on behalf of humanity.

Read the Expedition Updates to follow their journey.


Mike Dawson
Olympic kayaker Mike Dawson

Meet Mike…

Antarctic Heritage Trust is thrilled to be partnering for a second year with Olympic kayaker Mike Dawson, who  joins the Inspiring Explorers’ Expedition as a kayaking mentor.

Mike Dawson was born in Tauranga in 1986 and Rotorua is his home base. After taking up kayaking at a young age, the sport quickly became his main focus.

During his career he competed in two Olympic Games, has achieved silver and bronze medals in extreme kayaking championships, and has participated in kayaking expeditions in Chile, Uganda, Pakistan and beyond…

Meet the 2020 Inspiring Explorers’™

They are University of Canterbury students Sadra Sultani (18) and Anzac Gallate (19) of Christchurch, Wellington’s Laurette Siemonek and Owain John (26) and Ihlara McIndoe (22) of Dunedin.

Two students from Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate will also join the team, alongside their deputy principal, for the experience of a lifetime. They are 17 year-old South Auckland students, Jaylee Savage and A’aifou Potemani.