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Two chosen for once in a lifetime Antarctica experience

Media release

19 December 2013

Two candidates chosen for once in a lifetime Antarctica experience

Australian student filmmaker Marli Lopez-Hope and Kiwi ‘outdoorsman’ Michael Armstrong have been selected from almost 2000 applicants across 52 countries to travel to one of the most fragile and unique places on earth for the Antarctica: No Ordinary Place, No Ordinary Assignment.

The initiative, launched by Air New Zealand with the support of National Geographic Channel and Antarctica New Zealand will see the two environmental enthusiasts spend two weeks on the ice where they will assist National Geographic photographer Jason Edwards to capture life in Antarctica.

To secure this once in a lifetime opportunity, applicants were required to narrate a National Geographic Channel video clip from Antarctica as well as write a short description of why they should be chosen for the assignment.

Twenty year old Marli, a Film and Television Production student and passionate wildlife filmmaker has recently spent time creating a wildlife documentary in Botswana’s Okavango Delta with South Africa’s NHU Wildlife Film Academy. Her goal is to use her film and storytelling skills to make a real difference to the world.

“This is an incredible opportunity for me personally and to further raise awareness of important environmental issues. It feels like this assignment was made for me!”

Michael, a recent Masters in Science (MSc) graduate from Florida State University says he developed a love of the environment watching wildlife documentaries as a child and has been an outdoor enthusiast ever since.

“For the past month I have been walking, camping and tramping through the Nelson Lakes and Abel Tasman National Parks but the opportunity to visit Antarctica will take my explorations to another level. This will be the biggest thing I have ever done”.

Air New Zealand Chief Executive Officer Christopher Luxon says Marli and Michael will have the unique opportunity to share their experiences with the world and have an important role to play in raising awareness of the environmental issues scientists are working to address in Antarctica.

“Although we had planned to select only one person for this money-can’t-buy experience both Marli and Michael have the personalities, environmental aspiration and communications skills that make them the ideal candidates for this experience of a lifetime. We simply couldn’t choose between them.”

Air New Zealand has long been a supporter of the scientific work undertaken on the ice and last year formalised this by signing a three year partnership with Antarctica New Zealand and the New Zealand Antarctic Research Institute (NZARI).

The airline has provided grants for Antarctic researchers and transport for scientists and research equipment between New Zealand, North America and the United Kingdom.  More recently it has supported polar amplification research and its potential consequences. Additionally, two Air New Zealand employees this month returned from a two month secondment to Antarctica where they have been providing support for scientists on the ice.

Marli and Michael’s submissions can be viewed at


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