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Grant Helps Save Shackleton’s Antarctic Legacy

13 January 2006

Lottery Grant Helps Save Shackleton’s Antarctic Legacy

Internal Affairs Minister Rick Barker wished the Antarctic Heritage Trust’s Ross Sea Heritage Restoration Project good luck today. “This is a groundbreaking project that follows in the footsteps of the great Sir Ernest Shackleton, leading the way in the historic preservation of unique, at-risk Antarctic artefacts," he said.

Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Antarctic legacy of artefacts will be saved for future generations, thanks in part to a $300,000 grant from the Lottery Grants Board’s Environment and Heritage committee.

The Trust’s project endeavours to conserve the legacy left on the ice by the first explorers to the Antarctic. In a world first, over the next three years, conservators will spend their winters on ice, restoring 3500 historic artefacts that would otherwise be lost forever.

The Lottery Grant covers the cost of establishing a state-of-the-art conservation laboratory on ice, conservation materials and conservation team contracts for the first year of the project.

Mr Barker said the project was a fitting sequel to one of the greatest tales of survival in expedition history and would ensure the longevity of a special aspect of New Zealand’s history.

"It is also worth noting that Christchurch is a fitting launching pad for this project as Shackleton's Captain Frank 'Wuzzles' Worsley is famous for having guided the crew across 800 miles of treacherous southern ocean with pinpoint accuracy.

"Captain Worsley grew up in Akaroa and honed his skill in sailing and navigation sailing in and around Christchurch, so it's fitting that this project to restore historic artefacts begins here too. Capturing the spirit of their endurance is a very worthwhile project and I hope the restoration offers us more of the human spirit, tenacity and determination they inspired us with," he said.

The Antarctic Heritage Trust has also contributed $400,000 of other donors’ funds towards the project and is seeking further sponsorship to complete the work.
Trust Chair Paul East said the Lottery support was “a great boost to the artifact conservation project and a testament to the importance of saving this legacy for future generations”.

The laboratory will be shipped to Antarctica from Lyttelton on 13 January.

ENDS

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