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Double celebration for 2014/15 Antarctic season

Double celebration for 2014/15 Antarctic season

Antarctica’s special relationship with Christchurch will be celebrated tomorrow with the start of the 2014-15 Antarctic season.

The season opening sees the city welcome international scientists and researchers who fly from Christchurch to Antarctica to spend summer working on the ice. This year’s season opening coincides with the launch of NZ IceFest, which runs untilSunday 12 October.

Christchurch acts as the logistics hub for the New Zealand, US, Italian and Korean Antarctic Programmes which, combined with other Antarctic related activities, contribute over $100 million per year into the local economy

Mayor Lianne Dalziel says Christchurch’s special link with Antarctica is a top priority for the city.

“Our relationship with Antarctica is a central part of the city’s identity. We are one of only five gateway cities to Antarctica worldwide. This connection creates strong economic, cultural and scientific benefits for Christchurch and links us to an international network of shared research and knowledge about that great continent and the future of our planet.”

Mayor Dalziel says that NZ IceFest is a chance to showcase New Zealand-led Antarctic science in a way that makes it interesting for everyone.

“Bringing the festival hub back into the centre of the city also contributes to bringing life and vitality back into the CBD.

“I encourage everyone to take advantage of this festival which celebrates our relationship with Antarctica.”

Antarctica New Zealand Chief Executive Peter Beggs says, “The opening of the Antarctic season marks an exciting and challenging window of opportunity for New Zealand scientists to learn more about the secrets locked within the frozen continent.

“What happens in Antarctica affects the rest of the world and Antarctica is changing.

“New Zealand enjoys an excellent reputation for global leadership and collaboration in Antarctic environmental protection and science and every season is an important opportunity to grow the knowledge base and inform the future.”

Weather dependent, staff and scientists will start travelling south to Scott Base and McMurdo Station from Monday 29 September.

The season opening concludes with the annual South to Antarctica Church Service at 10am on Sunday 28 September. The service will be held in the Transitional Cathedral, Hereford Street, led by the Acting Dean Ven Nick Mountford.

This will be followed by New Zealand Antarctic Society’s traditional Wreath Laying Ceremony, paying tribute to Antarcticans who have gone before, and those who follow.

This ceremony will be held at 11.15am at the site of the Scott Statue on the corner of Worcester Boulevard and Oxford Terrace.

For more information on NZ IceFest visit www.nzicefest.co.nz

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