It's absolutely amazing. Vast. Open. Pristine. Just totally amazing.

At first NZ Air Force photographer Corporal Mark James struggles to put into words his overall impression of Antarctica admitting it's a pretty easy place to be lost for words.

RNZAF Boeing 757 on the ice in Antarctica

Scott Base: Antarctica

Scott Base was constructed for New Zealand's participation in the International Geophysical Year and Commonwealth Transantarctic Expedition and was officially opened on January 20 1957.  Designed only for a short life the base began a rebuilding programme in 1976.

Scott Base accommodates up to 58 people over the summer and a skeleton staff of 10-14 over the winter.

Antarctica New Zealand manages Scott Base and supports scientific research in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, particularly the Ross Sea region. Antarctica New Zealand assumed responsibility for managing New Zealand's Antarctic activities on 01 July 1996. 

The New Zealand Defence Force's Role

Each year Antarctica New Zealand requests New Zealand Defence Force support for the forthcoming Antarctic summer season. The NZDF also provides support to the United States Antarctic Programme.

Jobs include search and rescue support, air transport, Terminal Operations at Harewood (Christchurch Int. Airport) and McMurdo, ship offload operations and Scott Base support personnel.

The summer season extends from October to February each year. 

Each year RNZAF No. 40 Squadron undertakes approximately six C130 Hercules flights during the summer season. Due to weather conditions some flights are postponed or in some cases at the 'point of safe return' flights turn around and return to Christchurch due to rapid changing weather on the ice.

December 2006, Antarctica, Onlookers watch as the loads hit the deck in the Drop Zone. WN 07-0047-29

December 2006, Antarctica, Onlookers watch as the loads hit the deck in the Drop Zone. WN 07-0047-29

C-17 Globe Master lets its cargo go over the Drop Zone.

Incoming cargo from a C-17 Globe Master over the Drop Zone.

This page was last reviewed on 13 October 2014, and is current.