Volunteers support heritage carpentry on ice
09 December 2016
Antarctic Society volunteers support heritage carpentry on ice
Antarctica New Zealand has worked in collaboration with the New Zealand Antarctic Society for nearly a decade, enabling many great names in the Antarctic community to have their first experience on the Ice.
Next week, two of these members Tony Thrupp and Gus Anning, will travel to Antarctica to support conservation work currently being undertaken by Antarctic Heritage Trust on Sir Edmund Hillary’s TAE Hut, the ‘Mess Hut’, from the original Scott Base build 60 years ago in 1957.
As part of the volunteer programme, both men will live at Scott Base for around 4 weeks and will directly support the Antarctic Heritage Trust heritage carpentry team to undertake building repairs and maintenance of this iconic building.
“We have a strong relationship with the Antarctic Society and greatly appreciate their advocacy work across the country,” said Antarctica New Zealand Chief Executive Peter Beggs.
“We are grateful to have two experienced volunteers supporting the conservation of a site which represents a modern era of the study of the continent from the Ross Sea region and marks the foundation of New Zealand’s place in Antarctica, Scott Base.”
As an experienced outdoor guide Thrupp’s experience includes work on the Franz Josef Glacier, constructing tracks with troubled youth in Oregon and managing multisport trips in Alaska. He works for the Department of Conservation, and for 7 years was part of Building Team based in Hokitika on the West Coast and was involved with numerous backcountry projects ranging Hut relocations, new builds and general maintenance. He also built his own off grid solar powered home on a 20 acre lifestyle block.
Thrupp is excited about the opportunity to contribute to preserving an important part of New Zealand’s heritage, early Antarctic exploration and scientific research. In his application he wrote, being chosen to contribute to this project would provide immense personal and professional satisfaction. “I also can’t lie, the selfish desire to visit Antarctica is also a factor. It would be an amazing opportunity to experience this unique and remarkable environment”. He has always had a keen interest in Hillary's accomplishments and polar exploration.
Anning also worked alongside Thrupp on the Franz Joseph Glacier. It was pure coincidence to find that they were both going.
Anning is also no stranger to building in extreme conditions having built his family home in 2015 under the watchful eye of TV3's Grand Designs New Zealand, a Kiwi version of the much-loved UK show that follows ambitious homebuilding projects. While working in sub-zero temperatures will differ from his experience in the tropical Coromandel, his experience building an ‘Earthship’ - a form of "biotecture" that use natural and recycled materials to minimise their impact on the environment, are directly aligned with our environmental principles in Antarctica.
In his application Anning said, “From a young age I have been fascinated with polar exploration. Reading books about the hardships faced by so many. From Shackleton and his men to Amundsen’s voyages on the Gjoa and the Fram, The Tera Nova Expeditions through to my hero, Sir Edmund Hillary’s achievements on Everest and his can do attitude dash to the pole. All inspiring stuff!”
“My enthusiasm since hearing about this opportunity to restore the TAE hut is huge. I would also love to help spread the word and share this amazing project to the world whether it be filming or photography or sharing this experience as it happens on social media helping educate the masses about Antarctica.”
Anning has just arrived back onto terra firma after revisiting the Sub Antarctic Islands south of New Zealand working as a guide and history lecturer on board a ship for Heritage Expeditions. He said, “The biodiversity of these islands never fails to blow me away.”
The Antarctic Society brings together people interested in Antarctica, to share knowledge in the fields of all sciences, exploration, discovery and mapping of Antarctica, to seek protection of the Antarctic environment, and to promote New Zealand's interests in Antarctica.
Both Thrupp and Anning are keen to ensure their experience is shared within their communities and have a series of social media posts planned. They have both pledged to visit schools in their locals areas to help the next generation learn a little more about the continent, its history and the global body of research underway to understand Antarctica’s vulnerability in a changing climate, and the impact this may have on the rest of the world.