New Zealand-Antarctic link in annual festival
24 Sep 2008
Climate change and its effect on the world will be highlighted this month at a festival in the New Zealand city of Christchurch - gateway to the last great wilderness on earth.
The 2008 Canterbury Antarctic Festival from September 26 to October 5 is an annual event celebrating New Zealand’s close connection with Antarctica which spans scientific, economic and historic ties.
This year the festival focuses on the International Polar Year scientific programme and is designed to give a better understanding of what is happening to our planet and how humans influence the Earth system.
Live to Scott Base
During the festival a live video link will be established with Scott Base on Ross Island so the general public can communicate with staff wintering over on the icy continent.
Other ice-inspired festival events include a special Antarctic service at Christchurch Cathedral to bless those heading south for the Antarctic summer, a wreath-laying ceremony in memory of Sir Edmund Hillary, and a two-day ‘Antarctic Ice-Capade’.
The Ice-Capade held at the International Antarctic Centre, at Christchurch airport, is designed to provide a true insight into life on the ice. It includes aircraft tours, a close up look at Antarctic icons and service equipment, Antarctic fashion and ice sculpture demonstrations. The festival will also include a series of films, exhibitions and lectures by members of the Antarctic community.
Local tours will allow visitors to walk in the steps of early Antarctic adventurers visiting Quail Island where John Falcon Scott and Sir Ernest Shackleton trained their sled dogs and ponies, and Shackleton’s favourite pub in Lyttelton - the key port of departure for Antarctica.
Christchurch City Council which runs the festival has invited ambassadors for all of the Antarctic Treaty signatory partners to attend this year’s event. In the future it is hoped to expand the festival into an international event that will further showcase Antarctica’s major themes - exploration, international cooperation, the value of science, history and heritage.
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