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NZ IceFest 2014 opens to the public

NZ IceFest 2014 opens to the public

All things Antarctic will come to Christchurch this weekend with the launch of NZ IceFest 2014.

Lady June Hillary, widow of New Zealand icon Sir Edmund Hillary, will break an ice ribbon on Saturday morning, officially opening the two week festival focused on New Zealand’s relationship with Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.

Prior to this, a team of eight Malamute sled dogs will pull the Christchurch tram along its tracks from Cathedral Junction to the festival site entrance on the western side of Cathedral Square. Lady Hillary, and other invited guests, will be aboard the tram.

NZ IceFest Director Chloë Dear says the dog tram pull was a fitting open for the biennial festival which runs from Saturday 27 September to Sunday 12 October.

“Christchurch has close links with Antarctica so having a team of sled dogs pulling the tram in Cathedral Square is symbolic of our special relationship with the icy continent.

“It’s a real honour to have Lady June Hillary officially open this year’s festival, breaking the ice ribbon and showing her support for NZ IceFest.”

NZ IceFest features a range of Antarctic-themed activities, seminars, exhibitions and educational programmes, all aimed at educating and celebrating the icy continent.

Each of the festival’s three weekends focuses on a different aspect of Antarctica - Industry and International Relations, Adventure and Heritage and Art and Culture. Integral to Antarctica, the Science and Environment programme runs throughout the festival.

Ms Dear says the festival offers “something for everyone”.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re an Antarctic expert or not, NZ IceFest 2014 has a diverse programme of interesting and unique events and I encourage everyone to get along and experience these.”

Highlight attractions for opening weekend include:

NZ IceFest Opening
Sled dog tram pull followed by Lady June Hillary breaking a ribbon of ice. Saturday 27 September, 9.30am-10am, Cathedral Square, Free.

Antarctic Yarns: Ice Pilots – Tales from the Sky
Listen to pilots talk about the unique challenges and adventures of flying in Antarctica. Saturday 27 September, 3.45pm-4.45pm, NZ IceFest Hub, Free.

The Big Issue: Antarctic Treaty Politics – Behind the Scenes
Learn how a continent can be successfully governed by an international treaty with 50 signatory nations. Saturday 27 September, 7.30pm-9pm, NZ IceFest Hub, $10

Sled Dog Racing
See sled dogs in action at this family-friendly dog-sled racing event. Watch these powerful dogs in action and meet them in person. Sunday 28 September, 9am-1pm, North Hagley Park, Free.

View the full programme for NZ IceFest at www.nzicefest.co.nz

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