Antarctic Season Opening festival

Date: 01 Oct 2017 - 15 Oct 2017

Various venues throughout Christchurch. Please check The Antarctic Office website for more information.

The Antarctic Office’s Antarctic Season Opening festival, held each year in October, explores New Zealand’s gateway role, past present and future. The festival is tied to the arrival of the US Air Force’s C-17 which transports equipment, and scientists and support personnel from both the US and New Zealand Antarctic programmes to Antarctica for the summer.

With support from the diplomatic sector, the festival focuses on the ‘how’ of the Antarctic: transport, survival, innovation and logistics. This is delivered through talks, exhibitions, activities and Antarctic Air Day (see inside a C-17!).

Highlights are detailed below. More information can be found on The Antarctic Office what’s on website page.


Until 5 November
Postcards to Antarctica
Canterbury Museum, Rolleston Avenue

Scott Base staff and scientists share what Antarctica means to them. A multimedia exhibition by photo-journalist Guy Frederick.

Thursday 5 October
The Ghost Ships of the Arctic: the Discoveries and Exploration of Sir John Franklin’s missing ships
6.00pm – 7.30pm, The Piano, 156 Armagh Street

Marc-André Bernier is the Head of Parks Canada’s Underwater Archaeology team which led the search for the missing ships from Sir John Franklin’s 1845 Expedition. He was one of the first archaeologists to dive on both ships after their discovery in the Canadian Arctic.

Friday 6 October
Scott Statue Reinstatement
2.30pm, next to Worcester Street Bridge

Come and join the official ceremony for the reinstatement of Christchurch’s iconic Robert Falcon Scott statue.

Saturday 7 October
Antarctic Air Day
10am – 4pm, Christchurch Airport

Step on-board Antarctic aircraft before they head to the ice for the summer season. Meet the crews and learn about what it is like to live on the coldest and windiest continent. A fun, free and not-too- freezing day out for the whole family.

Saturday 7 October
Double Bill: Antarctic Heritage Talks
Great Scott: The Story of a Christchurch Memorial
6.00pm – 8.30pm, The Piano, 156 Armagh Street

Sarah Murray, Curatorial Manager, Canterbury Museum, presents the story of this important Christchurch memorial, considering the history, context and significance of this magnificent example of public art.

Rediscovering the Magnetic Observatory of Christchurch
John Clemens, Curator, Christchurch Botanic Gardens, rediscovers the observatory used by Scott and other explorers heading to Antarctica.

Sunday 8 October
Lyttelton’s Antarctic Connections
12.30pm – 3.00pm, Lyttelton – meet at the sled dog statue on the corner of London and Canterbury Streets

Lyttelton was the last port of call for many Antarctic expeditions before they headed south. This walk will visit heritage sites around the port and town that are connected to the expeditions of Scott and Shackleton.

Sunday 15 October
Antarctic Heritage Trail
1.30pm– 3.00pm, Christchurch CBD – meet outside entrance to Canterbury Museum, Rolleston Avenue

Christchurch has long been a gateway for explorers and scientists heading to Antarctica. Visit some of the city’s Antarctic landmarks and learn about our connections to the Ice. 3.6km guided walk.


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