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Sir Ed’s grandson opens Antarctic exhibition in Christchurch

Two talented young explorers, who captured their passion for exploration through photography and a soundscape of Antarctica, are showcasing their works in a new exhibition.

The exhibition by Alexander Hillary and Marco de Kretser is now open at Christchurch Airport, as part of an Antarctic Heritage Trust initiative.

Marco (19) and Alex (23) were selected to travel to Antarctica earlier this year, as part of the Trust’s Inspiring Explorers’ Expedition. The pair were among a small team, who explored Antarctic Peninsula by kayak with Olympian, Mike Dawson.

As the grandson of Sir Edmund Hillary, Alexander Hillary has the spirit of exploration very much in his blood.

“I was lucky enough to have a good understanding of Antarctica and Antarctic exploration before I went on the trip. It was a real joy to be able to share with the rest of the team something that has been a passion my entire life. It’s cool to see an iceberg the size of a small city sail past you in the Gerlache Strait, but when you find out it’s 60,000 years old or more, the amazing becomes mind-blowing,” says Alexander.

His images, including photos of Sperm whales and immense landscapes, will remain on display at Christchurch Airport until March 2020.

Within the space, the public will be able to view Alexander’s and Marco’s images, while listening to a curated version of Marco’s soundscape The Frozen Wild. As well as being passionate about photography, Marco is an electronic music producer. The Frozen Wild is a dynamic track capturing the unique sounds of Antarctica, including the sounds of ice crackling and calving, and wildlife such as whale, seals and penguins.

Antarctic Heritage Trust spokesperson Francesca Eathorne says the exhibition is one of the ways Alexander and Marco committed to sharing their stories and inspiring others to explore, something each team member had to deliver as part of their outreach programme.

She says the Trust wants to grow and empower young people, who will draw on inspiration from the great Antarctic explorers of the past, to drive positive change and instigate new perspectives to meet the challenges of our changing world.

“Underpinning our Inspiring Explorers programme is a commitment from participants to being open-minded and curious about the world we live in, being prepared to step out of their comfort zones, encouraging positive risk taking, and sharing their often life-changing experiences.”

As for his grandfather, Alexander reckons Sir Ed would be pretty proud of what he and the team achieved on the ice.

“He loved the idea of young people getting out and exploring. He was always encouraging that spirit of adventure in us, even on a small scale like climbing trees at the beach house, or around the garden. He would have been thrilled to see this awesome team of young Kiwis camping out in this incredible landscape.”

On December 12 Alex and Marco will talk to the exhibition, before officially opening it. The exhibition can also be viewed online and the full soundscape downloaded at

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