Video – Interview at SCAR POLAR2018

I had the opportunity to give an interview at the conference in Davos. That gave me the chance to introduce my work. On the Facebook page  “Women in Polar Research” are some of the interviews to find. Mine is accessible through this link: #PolarWomen2018 #Polar2018

I think Stephen Curtain did a great job with all those interviews. I am looking forward to seeing his official conference video. He has done a short and long version in Hobart last year and it had a great positive response.

interview June 2018


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



The Atlantic – A quote in a magazine….

I got contacted by Fortunato Salazar (his working name) to find out more on the Erebus Chalice. There are lots of different versions out there what this chalice means. Salazar contacted many historians who were involved e.g. the Canterbury Museum, David Harrowfield, and also me. After an interview, I gave this comment on the special concept of the chalice: “As the tradition persists, all the years of regarding the chalice as genuine have imparted a symbolic value independent of the chalice’s real origins. Continuity, in itself, seems to provide a kind of comfort. “When the chalice is handed over in the [blessing] service, it gives everyone a feeling of something special, of being a part of a very special group,” says Ursula Rack, a polar historian at the University of Canterbury who has studied the chalice’s symbolic value. “Going to the Antarctic isn’t a granted right, and many people experience real hardship—so the chalice is a sort of security because it implies that others made it through successfully before, and a newcomer will as well.” this quote is from the magazine The Atlantic

Use the link and read the article – maybe the chalice remains a mystery – the deeper one digs the more questions appear – interesting stuff.



Erebus Chalice – Chapel of the Snows, McMurdo, January 2016 (Ursula Rack)


Guided tour and public talk

On Monday, 5 February, I was busy. I gave a guided tour for one person through Christchurch to show the connection between the city and the Antarctic. We were lucky to have access to the Canterbury Club where I could show the signed menus from Shackleton’s farewell dinner in 1907. With the historic interior of this Club, it was easy to create a feeling of the time and the man who went South. The Scott statue, the museum and the stain glassed window in the Great Hall were also on the programm. The tour was planned for two hours but I went back to his accommodation and told on the way more stories and facts what was highly appreciated as he pointed out in his email:  “Thank you so very much for everything you did for me this morning, it was a sheer delight to meet you and your enthusiasm will stay with me forever. I consider your Heritage Tour an essential precursor to anyone and everyone going to visit the Antarctic, it will add so much more meaning to what I am about to experience.”

An hour later, I was on my way to Parklands to the Parklands’ Ladies Club. I have been invited already in December to deliver that talk on “how to live in the Antarctic” – it was successful again and comments from some women afterward are summed up in following statement: “your talk was the most intersting since some long time”.


Shackleotn portrait




Finally – a HISTORIAN in the Antarctic (PCAS  2014 – 15)

Wellington 14 February – public presentation

I have been invited to give a presentation in Wellington on 14 February 2018, on the race to the South Pole in 1912 (see link) NZAntSocWB-2018-02-14 Race to the South Pole-Rack

“Lessons from the Antarctic” How Amundsen won the race to the South Pole is the theme of the series of talks. Panels to Roald Amundsen’s biography are exhibited in Wellington all February and are accompanied by public talks. The panels were displayed also here in Christchurch during the Antarctic Season Opening in October 2017.

The “Amundsen panels” are in Wellington exhibited for the whole February. The NZAS Wellington Branch is the organiser of the talks and the Norwegian Embassy is supporting these events.

I am looking forward to this event!


14 February


Radio Interview

Because I got the NZ Winston Churchill Memorial Fellowship I have been invited for an interview yesterday at the radio station: “Plain FM, Christchurch Now.”

radio interview

We are encouraged by the Trust to engage with media. It is a very new experience and I hope I got the message out for the Fellowship, my project and the Antarctic.


HASSEG video released

The HASSEG conference was held in Hobart in July 2017.  Now a video about the conference has been released.  I am in it with a part of my presentation Geographical Societies, mapping, and interests in the Antarctic (time in the video 13:29 – 14:15). This video gives a great overview of the content and the quality of the presentations.

Click on this link and the video should appear. Enjoy!


Antarctic, 2014 – an inspiration for my historical research