This course introduces early Antarctic exploration and its link to New Zealand which played an important role at that time.  Pressing scientific questions demanded collaboration between different countries.  Of greater public interest, however, was the touch of adventure.  World War 1 brought Antarctic science to a halt, with the exception of the epic Endurance expedition, led by Ernest Shackleton, in which a New Zealand captain played a crucial part.  This course will shed light on all these aspects and much more.  Dr Ursula Rack is an Adjunct Fellow at Gateway Antarctica, University of Canterbury, and has training and experience in environmental and social history.

Starts 1 November, 10 am – 12.30 pm, at the WEA, 59 Gloucester Street, 2 Saturdays, $20

For further information or to enrol, please phone the WEA at 366 0285, email: or go online to:


Antarctic Magazine Article


A new article is published in the Antarctic Magazine, vol 32, No. 3, 2014 about Felix Koenig and his encounter with Ernest Shackleton in 1914.

A mutiny ended the German Antarctic expedition led by Wilhelm Filchner in December 1912. Their survey area has been the Weddell Sea. On his return from the failed expedition, Felix König had already developed a plan to continue where Filchner had given up. However, Ernest Shackleton had plans of his own. Thus a dispute arose between these two great explorers, and suddenly the Weddell Sea did not seem like a big enough place.

To read the article written by Dr. Ursula Rack, click this link below.



NZ Antarctic Society, Canterbury Branch

NZAS_logoI have just been elected as chair of the NZ Antarctic Society, Canterbury Branch. You can find us on Facebook here.   The New Zealand Antarctic Society was formed in 1933 and has branches in New Zealand’s main centres as well as an international membership. Except for a small recess during World War 2 it has been active throughout New Zealand since 1933. There are currently three active branches in New Zealand

  • Auckland
  • Wellington; and
  • Christchurch

Antarctic – Our journal
The society publishes four times a year our full colour journal (magazine style) which covers a wide range of Antarctic and Sub-Antarctic topics, including:

  • Articles cover a full range of international Antarctic and Subantarctic matters, including:
  • News from National Antarctic programmes;
  • Summary of Antarctic Treaty Meetings;
  • Restoration of historic sites;
  • Results from science projects;
  • Private expeditions;
  • Whaling, and fishing news;
  • Antarctic tourism;
  • Historical commentary and essays;
  • Book reviews; and
  • Tributes to those who have passed away.



A man’s best friend – dogs in the Antarctic

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As part of IceFest I spoke on a panel about dogs in the Antarctic in the Heroic Age. 120 people in the audience and 2 Huskies attended the presentation and were bursting with questions. The session was chaired by Hanne Nielsen who wrote an article on the session. Frank Graveson also spoke on his experience handling dogs at Scott Base back in the 1960s. To read more about Gateway Antarctica and IceFest check out the article about the panel.  


Report from SCAR workshop Auckland 2014

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The report from the SCAR workshop “Connecting the past-present-future: studies and methods in history for Antarctic research and science“., Auckland 2014, is now available. The guest speaker was Susan Barr from Norway, Fram Museum.