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Goff and Hillary to dedicate Antarctic centre

Hon Phil Goff Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade

29 November 2004

Goff and Hillary to dedicate Antarctic field centre

Foreign Minister Phil Goff and Sir Edmund Hillary today dedicated the Hillary Field Centre, a heated all-weather storage facility at Scott Base in Antarctica.

“The Hillary Field Centre is the largest single construction project ever undertaken at Scott Base. It is therefore entirely appropriate that it should be named after the man who played a key role in establishing the base, and, in his own words, 'in making New Zealand a force to be considered in Antarctic matters', said Mr Goff, who is the Minister responsible for Antarctica.

"Since Scott Base was established in 1957, New Zealand’s Antarctic field support and storage operations have been housed in a variety of unheated buildings.

“With the opening of the Hillary Field Centre, everything will be in the one location for the first time; thereby improving services and increasing safety for personnel and Scott Base staff.

“The opening of the field centre will also allow us to remove a number of old storage facilities, making the base much more energy efficient. It will be especially welcome to staff who currently work in the old hanger in temperatures as low as minus 45 degrees."

Mr Goff told Scott Base staff that the dedication of the Hillary Field Centre could be seen as a confirmation of New Zealand's commitment to playing an active role in Antarctica and the Antarctic Treaty System.

"We will continue to work towards strengthening the treaty system, for example by deterring and detecting illegal fishing in the waters around Antarctica. We will also play our part in contributing to the development of scientific knowledge from this vast natural laboratory.

"I can think of no finer tribute to the efforts of Sir Edmund nearly fifty years ago, than in ensuring that New Zealand should continue to meet its Antarctic responsibilities both now and in the future," Mr Goff said.

Construction of the centre began in February 2004, and the exterior of the building is to be completed this summer. It will be ready for use by next October.

ENDS

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