Davos – SCAR – POLAR2018 conference

13 June: I left Christchurch and 38 hours later I reached Davos, Switzerland. The SCAR OSC POLAR2018 is held here from 19 – 23 June. However, side meetings are already happening from today, 15 June. After registration and meeting already some people, I try to get ready for my programming course tomorrow and on Sunday: “Software Carpentry and Intro to HPC for Polar Science – POLAR2018”. It is a hands-on workshop from 9 am – 6 pm. The aim is to introduce researcher to data management and task automation. I am looking forward to this two days’ course.

To beat the jetlag I had a walk to the Davoser See (lake) and saw the Physical-Meteorological Observatory. I took a picture from the building. It has historic significance for its meteorological studies especially in the 1920s on atmospheric radiation.


This is the Physical-Meteorological Observatory in Davos where already Fritz Loewe undertook studies in  1923-24 on atmospheric radiation.


MA 18 conference in Christchurch

Last week, I attended the MA18 (Museum Aotearoa 2018) conference: Insight – Outsight. As a volunteer in the committee in the Lyttelton Museum Society, I paid the fees and attended for 3.5 days the conference. I learned very much about Christchurch, the museum’s work and the changes which correspond to the change in society and perception of museums. Today, a museum is a space for addressing current social issues and also link to the past most of the time on the bases of storytelling and visual media. Education is also a very crucial part of museum’s work today. A short summary is to find in the MA newsletter, News & Notices 29 May 2018: please, see copy below!

It was a great experience, especially the hands-on session in the Canterbury Museum workshop for mounting artefacts.

20180601_122444[1]              20180601_122404[1]

We learned how to make the base, worked on the metal parts and created the top (second picture). Normally a more attractive hat or delicate artefact would be on this mount 🙂 but it was a good way to see the work behind a good display support. Before we could start to work on that piece we had a very good introduction about the different materials, complicated issues with some of them and the many options of the diverse mounting supports. It is a very creative work and needs accuracy to hold the artefacts without any impact on the item itself. When planning an exhibition it is also helpful to know about different ways to mount the displayed items and consider this also in the cost and time calculations. Once became clear, this can only work within a great teamwork.



Extract from the MA newsletter, 29 May 2018


Whew, it’s over – or is it? MA18 Outside Insights conference may be over, but the challenges and kōrero remain with us. Tā Mark Solomon challenged us all to take responsibility for domestic trauma in our communities, Elizabeth Connor encouraged us to take the bad with the good and be open to creativity as well fact, and Kaila Colbin looked to a future which will be exponentially different from today. We heard from a wide range of people outside museums and galleries who had views on how they work with us, and from some inside who shared other kinds of challenges – such as inclusion and repatriation.

MA would really appreciate your feedback on MA18. A survey link has been sent to everyone who registered. And if you didn’t get to MA18 we would love you to tell us why, and would also appreciate your ideas and suggestions for future conferences. We are already working on MA19 in Wellington, and feedback from this year will help us to plan a relevant and inspiring conference. Please use this link to our Conference Survey.


Congratulations to all the winners and finalists in the 2018 ServiceIQ NZ Museum Awards, announced in Christchurch on 20 May. Otago Museum (Taonga Māori and Public Programme) and Te Awahou Nieuwe Stroom (Museum Project) were prominent on the podium. Other winners are Canterbury Museum (Arts Access), Christchurch Art Gallery (Museum Shops), Dowse Art Museum (Museum Shops), Taupō Museum (Public Programme), MTG Hawke’s Bay (Taonga Māori), MOTAT (Social History), Kaikoura Museum (Science), Hastings City Art Gallery (Art), and Awhina Tamarapa is the first recipient of the Mina McKenzie Award for individual achievement.

Talk at the Women’s Fellowship Club

I have been invited to give a talk at the Women’s Fellowship Club at St. Christopher’s Anglican Church, Avonhead, Christchurch (29 May 2018). My presentation was on  “A historian in the Antarctic”.

After the talk, a woman came up to me and thanking me for the presentation. She told me also: “My grandson took on the ANTA 102 course last year and he loved the history lectures in the course; it changed his perspective on Antarctica”. That is the proof: History is the link to the different disciplines in the Antarctic studies courses. That was a real boost to my moral.

Many women thanked me for the presentation and they seemed really happy and enthusiastic about it. One woman told the group that her son is traveling Antarctica but more for sportive events. Over a cup of tea, the women asked very interesting questions about the Antarctic and it has shown that many are not aware that Antarctica is even present in their families (but is not really communicated: e.g. oh, yes, my husband worked as a firefighter there for few months….)



I am on the top of Crater Hill,  January 2016



New honorary position

Over a year ago I was shoulder tapped to take over the Austrian Honorary Consular position for the South Island of New Zealand. After long administration procedures related to this position, I am now in the transition phase to learn the way how I can support Austrian citizens when they need help or advice while in or coming to New Zealand. I had already my first Consular meeting two weeks ago where I met colleagues they represent their country (e.g. Denmark, France, England, Cyprus, etc.) There is a lot to learn and it is a big part responsibility involved. It is another volunteer work I took on, but it will be an interesting journey I suppose.



Signing the papers to take on the position: Ambassador Dr. Zimburg; me and my husband Wolfgang who is the new Honorary-Vice-Consul


Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in London

Since 3 weeks, I am a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in London – I received my identity card and the welcome package via mail. I have been invited to apply for the fellowship position because of my work which bridges history and geography; especially with my approach for the NZ Winston Churchill Memorial Fellowship but also for my work I have done for environmental research. This Fellowship position will give me a number of opportunities for future funding applications for humanities research and also broaden my possibilities for publications. I know now a bit more about it since the official welcome package arrived.



Wilhelm Filchner and Alfred Kling looking for “new land” (Second German Antarctic Expedition 1911/12 (Filchner: 1923)





Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society in London

A few days ago I received an email which stated that my application has been approved; I am now a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (RGS) in London. I have been invited to apply after my meeting with Alasdair MacLeod (Head of Enterprise and Resources) at 13 April 2018. It seems that the NZ Winston Churchill Fellowship pays off. With this RGS-Fellowship, I have lots of opportunities to stay connected with the European research community and also have access to valuable articles etc. which would only be possible with lots of financial efforts. That will also help me to get my research out to a wider community.


Sir Clements Markham was very influential when it came to the Antarctic expeditions during the Heroic Era – this bust stands at the building entrance of the RGS (picture taken by me)


Report writing starts

I am back in New Zealand and start to sort all my material I gathered in the archives, during the interviews, and all the meetings. I am very glad that I had the chance to meet all these people and visited these places (archives, museums, libraries, and institutes) to work on my project. The amount of material is amazing but as it happens so often, there are more questions than answers which appear when thinking of the report writing. So I am in the stage of organising my report for the best possible outcome.

Thank you to everyone involved for the help and support I experienced and the positive atmosphere. It was a great trip with lots of new insights.  However, the “real” work starts now in processing the material I brought home.




My workspace in the library of the Scott Polar Research Institute 5 – 25 April 2018