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Anniversary in Antarctica to focus on icy continent’s future

19 January 2016

New Zealand’s anniversary in Antarctica to focus on icy continent’s future

The 20th of January 2017 is the 60th anniversary of the opening of Scott Base in Antarctica – an occasion that will be marked with lamingtons, cheese rolls and a push to turbo charge the global conversation on climate change.

Antarctica New Zealand chief executive Peter Beggs says it’s an important milestone.

“New Zealand was one of the first countries to establish a base in Antarctica, for the six decades since we have been at the forefront of scientific research and exploration on the ice. We have also helped lead the international effort to protect Antarctica, helping establish The Antarctic Treaty in 1961.”

On the 20th of January 1957, a flag-raising ceremony was held outside the original Scott Base that had just been built by a team, led by Sir Edmund Hillary.

Peter Beggs says Antarctica New Zealand wanted to do more than just cut a cake to celebrate the anniversary.

“We wanted to celebrate our history and success at Scott Base, but we wanted to use the anniversary to draw attention to the significance of Antarctica, how the continent is changing, and the impact this has on the rest of the world.”

“Global warming means our scientific work in Antarctica is more important than ever before; what happens to the Ice over coming decades will effect the entire global population,” says Peter Beggs.

To highlight the issue, Antarctica New Zealand is hosting TEDxScottBase – a series of talks from ten internationally-recognised speakers. These were recorded at Scott Base and will be broadcast online on Sunday 22 January 2017. For more information visit

Peter Beggs says the team at Scott Base is also preparing a more low-key but fitting celebration.

“They’re having a 1957-style morning tea, complete with lamingtons, cheese rolls and pigs in blankets. Back in 1957 such morning teas were usually enjoyed with a flask of beer but we’re subbing that out for a pot of milo.”

Antartica New Zealand is also hosting a number of those who were on the early expeditions to Scott Base at a dinner in Christchurch.

“These are our Antarctic pioneers if you like… their stories are amazing and inspiring and we have no doubt we’ll enjoy hearing them all.”


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