There are three main organisations involved with Antarctica. They are:
On top of that you have involvement of other organisations such as the NZ Defence Force, MFAT, NIWA, most universities etc.
So what does each organisation do?
Antarctica New Zealand is the government agency charged with carrying out New Zealand’s activities in Antarctica. They manage NZ’s presence in Antarctica, run Scott Base, support the world leading science and help protect the environment of Antarctica.
They have a seven member board appointed by the Foreign Affairs Minister. They have 27 staff based in Christchurch and from 10 to 50 staff at Scott Base.
However many staff work in both Christchurch and Scott Base. You may be an HR manager most of the year in Christchurch but also spend two to three months at Scott Base helping with operations.
The Scott Base staff are in three teams – base services, engineering, and programme support. People can do multiple roles. For example the Winter Base Leader was also the domestic staffer (cleaner/chef’s assistant). She has a PhD but there isn’t much science over winter so she takes up the domestic role.
Their budget is $16 million a year of which most goes on operating costs such as $900,000 on flying within Antarctica, $680,000 on fuel, $435,000 on data/comms link and $202,000 on food.
NZARI is a charitable trust that partners with research agencies to support science in Antarctica, the Southern Ocean and the Sub-Antarctic.
Funding for NZARI is sought from organisations concerned with global scale connections to Antarctica and consequences of its changing environment.
There are multiple sources of funding for science projects in Antarctica – Marsden Fund, NIWA, universities, overseas Governments. None of them have a dedicated focus though on Antarctica, which is where NZARI comes in. Their aim is to:
- Bring new money into the Antarctic Research sector
- Help to grow the linked up research effort so that research teams can address more challenging scientific questions
- Work in partnership with research organisations to facilitate the development of core scientific questions
Their Director is Gary Wilson who is the sort of head (in an informal sense) of the Antarctica scientific community. He’s been to Antarctica 25 times and a further 12 times to the Sub-antarctic.
They have an international science panel with members from the US, Australia, UK, South Korea, and Norway.
Their budget is $1.5 million a year plus they get support in kind of $1 million a year from Antarctica NZ. Major funders include the Aotearoa Foundation (set up by Julian Robertson) and Air New Zealand.
The Antarctic Heritage Trust is also a registered charity. The trustees include the Ambassadors or High Commissioners from the US, Ireland and the UK.
They do an amazing job preserving and restoring five historic huts in Antarctica. These huts are not just reminders of the great age of exploration but they are also the first human habitations on the continent. And the only remaining first habitations on any of the continent. Until they were built there was nothing here.
The five huts they preserve and restore are:
- Carsten Borchgrevink’s Hut, Cape Adare (the first building on Antarctica)
- Robert Falcon Scott’s Hut, Hut Point
- Ernest Shackleton’s Hut, Cape Royds
- Robert Falcon Scott’s Hut, Cape Evans
- Hillary’s Hut, Scott Base
They get funding from the NZ Government, but also from four museums, the Norwegian Government, Christchurch Airport and the UK Antarctic Heritage Trust.
Their budget is around $3 million a year.
The care and skill that goes into preserving the old artifacts is amazing. Professionals have restored thousands and thousands of artifacts with huge skill.