Ice Fest celebrates Kiwi connection with Antarctica

  • 08/10/2014

The latest Antarctic research season is underway and the continent has also been on show in Christchurch.

Ice Fest celebrates New Zealand's relationship with Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.

The first flights to Antarctica for this season have left, taking scientists and core staff to work on the ice. But back in Christchurch future scientists have also been learning about the coldest continent, with year 12 students having a look at one of the C-130 planes that will be part of the Antarctic missions.

Antarctica New Zealand chief executive Peter Beggs says it's important for younger generations to understand the importance of the continent.

"Part of our philosophy is to make sure that the young generation understand what Antarctica New Zealand does for a start, and why we do it, more importantly," says Mr Beggs.

Aircraft captain Aaron Lloyd says all that important work is made easier by Christchurch's strategic location.

"It's ideal for us here, we really enjoy working out of here," says Mr Lloyd.

The United States, Korea and Italy all have bases in the city, and Australia, Germany and China use Christchurch Airport to fly south, with the relatively short flight time of around seven hours.

All up, each season sees around 120 flights departing.

Mr Lloyd says preparation is no easy job, and he'd know - this is his fifth season.

"We work really hard and do a lot of work in the planning stages to identify any weather hazards and delays or postponements are common to wait for bad weather to pass through," he says.

That bad weather has delayed several flights south already this season, but crew members say it's all part of working with such an unpredictable environment.

When the scientists do get to the continent, their focus will turn to climate change and understanding what impact it has on New Zealand and the rest of the world.

3 News

source: newshub archive