South Pole Expedition Team

Inspiring Explorers - South Pole

© © ALE/Carl Alvey - credit: © ALE/Carl Alvey

Find out more about our young explorers selected to take part in the 2022 Inspiring Explorers Expedition™ to the South Pole. 

Laura Andrews. © Laura Andrews

Laura Andrews

28, Auckland

28-year-old Kiwi Laura Andrews is a firefighter and medical first responder by day, working for Auckland Airport Emergency Services.

She has previously spent three months walking the length of Te Araroa, Te Waipounamu solo, cycled the length of New Zealand along the Tour Aotearoa route, competed in endurance, adventure and ironman races in New Zealand and firefighter stair climbs internationally.

Laura thrives on pushing her physical and mental boundaries. She is a big believer in the ‘anything is possible with a bit of hard work’ philosophy, and feels inspired by previous explorers. Laura aims to incorporate modern day adventures into her everyday life. She spends her days off on micro adventures, hiking, biking, kayaking and trail running. She is also a keen skier and snowboarder.

When not in the outdoors Laura works in Emergency Services responding to fire, medical and marine emergencies. She enjoys the close-knit team environment, the ability to interact with the community and the dynamic environment that means no two days are the same.

Laura is looking forward to the physical and mental challenges of training for and carrying out forty plus days on the Ice and working in a small expedition team. She hopes to learn more about polar exploration, the contrasts between modern and historic methods, and be able to bring those stories back to communities around New Zealand.

Inspiring Explorer and Firefighter Laura Andrews
Inspiring Explorer Laura Andrews is trained to drive a hovercraft for marine rescue
Inspiring Explorer Laura Andrews training

Marthe Brendefur. © Marthe Brendefur

Marthe Brendefur


Hailing from the west coast of Norway, Marthe has a special love for wild terrain. When she moved to the flat part of the country in 2014, she switched her alpine skis for cross country skis and bought a sledge.

In 2019, Marthe crossed the Greenland ice cap, and her growing addiction to long ski excursions became a fact. During the pandemic, she found her skiing adventures at Finnmarksvidda and Hardangervidda – the two largest mountain plateaus in Norway.

Regardless of the situation, her camera is a constant companion, and she looks forward to unleashing her creativity with like-minded people in Antarctica. When Marthe is not out looking for good snow and ice, it is not uncommon to find her lost in a book – usually about adventures or computers.

She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Digital Forensics and works as an analyst for the Norwegian Maritime Cyber Resilience Centre, deploying her curiosity in tracking cybercriminal threats. Before her studies, she spent several years in the Norwegian Armed Forces. Marthe also enjoys hiking, running and cycling.

Inspiring Explorer Marthe Brendefur training
Inspiring Explorer Marthe Brendefur training
Inspiring Explorer Marthe Brendefur visits Roald Amundsen's House.

Mike Dawson. © Mike Dawson

Mike Dawson

35, Tauranga New Zealand

Mike is a retired New Zealand representative athlete with over 15 years’ experience in the high-performance sport environment as an athlete, advisor and coach. He is a double Olympian in canoe slalom, and a New Zealand Olympic Ambassador, inspiring young New Zealanders and sharing the Olympic values of respect, friendship and excellence. Mike is currently the coach of the New Zealand canoe slalom team.

He is internationally renowned for his extreme kayak feats, having won a slew of titles in some of the biggest rapids on the planet, and through his expedition paddling.

Mike had been selected as the videographer for this expedition. He is the founder of Kiwi Creations, a New Zealand-based film production company. His latest film Kwanza – The Drowning Diamond of Angola is an award-winning documentary showcasing the first descent of the Kwanza River in Angola.

Mike is a keen back-country skier, climber, hiker and multi-sport adventure race participant. He has previously been involved as a mentor with the Trust.

Inspiring Explorer Mike Dawson
Inspiring Explorer Mike Dawson