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Famous Ice Explorer to Visit NZ

13 August 2007.

Famous Ice Explorer to Visit NZ

The famous American polar explorer Will Steger is to make his first visit to New Zealand in September for the anniversary of New Zealand’s 50 years in Antarctica celebration at Christchurch.

The three-day national anniversary is the highlight of this year’s Antarctic Festival Week.

He will be the guest speaker at the jubilee dinner hosted by the Antarctic Society at Air Force Museum, Wigram, on 29 September, in association with Christchurch City Council, and supported by Christchurch International Airport Ltd, Antarctica New Zealand, Goughs Group, Heritage Expeditions, the Antarctic Attraction and IPENZ.

“Mr Steger is not only one of the world’s great explorers but also a leading commentator on effects of global warming on the polar ice caps and we believe his visit to Christchurch during the Antarctic Festival Week will prove highly interesting,” said the Antarctic historian David Harrowfield, chairman of the jubilee organisation.

Polar explorer Will Steger who will attend the Antarctic Jubilee in Christchurch in September 2007.

“The jubilee is one of the major events this year marking the country’s ongoing programme in Antarctic, in close association with the United States Antarctic Programme,” said Mr Harrowfield.

Mr Harrowfield added, “The Antarctic Society continues to search for the hundreds of New Zealanders who have worked in the Antarctic programme over the past several decades. We encourage them to register for the jubilee.” (www.mgevents.co.nz).

“The jubilee will be attended by the Governor-General, several leading members of the diplomatic community, key organisations, and many veterans of our 50 years on the Ice since the opening of Scott Base and Sir Edmund Hillary’s successful push to the South Pole during the Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1956-58.”

“I feel very honoured to be invited to address those attending New Zealand’s Antarctic jubilee dinner on matters related to my experiences as both an explorer and conservationist,” said Mr Steger. “Fifty years on from the TAE, and in the new International Geophysical Year, New Zealand continues to achieve in Antarctica and the relationship between New Zealand and the United States is core to polar research that has never been more vital or relevant to life on Earth.”

Mr Steger led the first confirmed dogsled journey to the North Pole without re-supply in 1986 and two years later made the south-north traverse of Greenland, the longest unsupported dogsled expedition in history.

He achieved the first dogsled traverse of Antarctica with the historic seven month, 5,596 kms International Trans-Antarctica Expedition in 1989-90, and then the first dogsled traverse of the Arctic Ocean from Russia to Ellesmere Island in Canada in 1995.

Mr Steger is now raising awareness of global warming and its environmental effects as a leading commentator in the U.S. on the environment.

He joined Amelia Earhart, Robert Peary, and Roald Amundsen in receiving the National Geographic Society's prestigious John Oliver La Gorce Medal (formerly the Gold Medal) for “Accomplishments in Geographic Exploration - in the Sciences, and Public Service to Advance International Understanding” in 1995.

In 1996, he became the National Geographic Society's first Explorer-in-Residence and received the Explorers Club’s Finn Ronne Memorial Award in 1997.

In 2006 Will Steger joined Jacques-Yves Cousteau, Dr. Thor Heyerdahl and Neil Armstrong in receiving the Lindbergh Award in recognition of "numerous polar expeditions, deep understanding of the environment and efforts to raise awareness of current environmental threats, especially climate change".


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