Sir Brian Roche, Chairman, Antarctica New Zealand – May I congratulate you on the honour that has been rightfully bestowed upon you
Peter Beggs, CE, Antarctica New Zealand
Lucy Duncan, Deputy Secretary, MFAT
Kerry Chuck, US Antarctic Programme
Yeadong Kim, KOPRI
Eric Assendelft, Christchurch City Antarctic Office
Fellow ‘Antarcticans’, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen
Can I begin by acknowledging the absence of Wing Commander Bill Cranfield and his wife Helen, due to Bill being unwell. His presence would have connected us to the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition in a very direct way. May I wish him a speedy recovery on behalf of us all.
We are gathered here to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Scott Base, which is an opportunity to underscore the incredibly important role which Antarctica plays for New Zealand as a whole, and for Christchurch in particular.
The milestone we mark tonight took place 60 years ago, on the 20th of January 1957, when Hillary’s Hut was completed. This historic building was of course built under the leadership of Sir Edmund Hillary to support the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition; thus forming the foundations for Scott Base, New Zealand’s permanent station for scientific research on the ice.
We are very proud to celebrate milestones like this. Our city’s connections to the ice date back more than a century – Antarctica is part of our heritage. But it is also very much a part of our future.
Today, we remain very proud of hosting Antarctica’s modern day explorers, who are the international scientists and researchers, connected to Antarctica New Zealand, the US Antarctic Programme, a partnership which dates back to 1955, as well as the Italian and Korean Antarctic programmes, and the wider international Antarctic community through COMNAP.
Last year, we established the city’s Antarctic Office to take a lead role in coordinating the opportunities and the networks that Antarctica brings to Christchurch and that Christchurch offers the Antarctic community as an exemplar gateway city.
Given the range of partnerships we enjoy, we can become the world’s true Antarctic city: University of Canterbury & Gateway Antarctica, Lincoln University, NIWA, Antarctic Heritage Trust, the Antarctic Attraction and the Museum.
On that note, may I thank Antarctica New Zealand for bringing us together, and thank you all for being here.