2014 Speaker Profiles

Thanks to all our fantastic speakers for 2014!

NZ IceFest was proud to boast an amazing line up of expert speakers including: Antarctic Scientists, International Artists, Antarctic Law experts, Adventurers and Antarctic Sled Dog Handlers to name a few.

We could not put on NZ IceFest without our speaker's passion for Antarctica and the Southern Ocean and we appreciate their support of NZ IceFest.


Don McGlashan

With a career that includes Blam Blam Blam, The Front Lawn, The Mutton Birds, and a pair of highly-acclaimed solo albums, Don shows no signs of resting on his laurels, in fact he's been performing more and more in recent years, and recently visited Antarctica in 2012 as part of Antarctica New Zealand's invited artists programme. Don opened for Crowded House on their 2008 US, European and Australian tours, and was a guest musician with the band. In 2009 he took part in Neil Finn’s Seven Worlds Collide project – collaborating on his own songs with Johnny Marr, and members of Wilco and Radiohead.  More recently he re-formed The Mutton Birds for a hugely successful Winery Tour in 2012, took his solo show to sell-out audiences in London and New York, and collaborated live with the likes of Australian master-songwriter Paul Kelly, Brian Ritchie of The Violent Femmes and NZ icon Dave Dobbyn. Don is currently working on a new album that is due for release end of 2014.

David Buckland

Cape Farewell 

David Buckland, creator and director of Cape Farewell, will showcase the work of the scientists and famous artists who have worked together to address climate change and vision the need for a sustainable cultural shift. He has led 8 expeditions into the high arctic aboard the sailing ship the Noorderlicht, which has led to a creative outpouring of film, music, artworks, books and poetry, all of which articulate the need to engage with climate change on a human scale and with visionary insight.

Peter Beggs

Antarctica New Zealand

Peter Beggs is the Chief Executive of Antarctica New Zealand, a Crown Entity responsible for developing, managing and executing New Zealand Government activities in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, in particular the Ross Dependency. He is passionate about supporting scientific research, conserving the intrinsic values and raising public awareness of the international significance of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Peter joined Antarctica New Zealand in late 2013 from Thales Australia New Zealand, where he was Country Director for NZA and Regional Divisional Vice President.


Sir Richard Hayes

Southern Lakes Helicopters

Richard Hayes owns and operates Te Anau based Southern Lakes Helicopters. He also owns Heliworks Queenstown, which has bases in Queenstown and Mt Cook. Richard has flown in excess of 30,000 hours in helicopters. He has received numerous awards recognising his flying expertise, including an international award for outstanding airmanship and recognition from NZ Police for Search and Rescue work. Richard was made a member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2001 for services to search and rescue. This year Richard was made a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to search and rescue and the community.

Peter Otway

Peter Otway, a qualified surveyor, first visited Antarctica in October 1960, spending two summers dog sledging with geologists exploring and mapping large tracts of virgin territory in the Byrd and Beardmore Glacier regions. He spent the intervening winter at Scott Base preparing the field equipment and dogs, later receiving the Polar Medal. He returned to Antarctica for six more field seasons and joined the NZ Geological Survey, spending most of his career studying tectonics and active volcanoes including Mt Erebus.    

Lauren Merritt

Ministry of Awesome

Lauren Merritt is the Chief Awesome Officer of Ministry of Awesome, an organisation that exists to turn ideas into reality. 
She previously worked for the super-charity--StarJam, which empowers young people with disabilities through music where she brought the idea from Auckland and created a thriving community here in Christchurch. She is an avid traveler and student of life and has worked and researched peace and conflict studies in Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania, cultivated olives and made olive oil in Greece and resettled refugees in California. Her main drive is to empower and enable others to live a life they love. 


Carol Smith

Lincoln University

Carol is a senior lecturer in soil science at Lincoln University. She spent 2 months in Antarctica during 2008/09 in Taylor Valley and deep field at the Darwin Glacier.  Her background in pedology and geomorphology has led to a range of research interests in Antarctica and beyond including soil development, landscape evolution and carbon fluxes in soils.  Carol is passionate about soils and landscapes – unlocking their secrets to tell us about past environments and climates.

Events: Cool Chicks

Gabriela Roldan

From Ushuaia to Christchurch, via Antarctica! Gabriela comes from the southernmost city in the world, but calls New Zealand home now. Living so close to Antarctica sparked heaps of curiosity and passion that have taken Gabriela to travel to Antarctica more than 30 times. She has been involved in a range of roles, from training winter base staff to assisting policy makers on Antarctic tourism matters. Gabriela is currently doing a PhD at the University of Canterbury and she is the Education Manager at the International Antarctic Centre. 

Wing Commander Andy Scott

Wing Commander Andy Scott currently works at Headquarters Joint Force New Zealand looking after regional NZDF operations. As part of his portfolio he manages the NZDF’s annual commitment to Antarctic and Southern Ocean operations. Prior to his current role his background was a C-130 Hercules instructor pilot where we has spent 12 years flying to and from Antarctica as part of No. 40 Squadron, RNZAF.

Rodney Russ

Rodney Russ: Owner and Founder of Heritage Expeditions Ltd.

Rodney’s involvement with the Subantarctic Islands dates back to 1972 when he was a member of the ‘Auckland Islands Expedition’ led by the NZ Wildlife Service, whom he worked for at that stage.  Participation in this expedition ignited a passion for the Southern Ocean that still burns fiercely today.  Heritage Expeditions has held a commercial concession for the Subantarctic Islands since 1989 and in that period has shared these islands with an estimated 6,000 people from around the world.... that is a lot of ambassadors. 

Lydia McLean

University of Otago

After finishing her undergraduate degree in zoology at the University of Otago, Lydia learned that her love of science lay less in research and more in outreach. She is currently completing a Masters degree in Science Communication focused on Antarctica, after being lucky enough to head to the ice last summer through the PCAS course at the University of Canterbury. At NZ IceFest, her creative project ‘Beneath the Blooming Ice’ is putting Southern Ocean plankton under the microscope. 

Tom Arnold

My 1st trip to Antarctica was in 2009 when I spent 13 months at Scott base as Field Support and Winter base leader. Since then I have returned to Scott Base every year for various lengths of time working as a field trainer and event safety. Over the last 2 seasons I have been supporting and event looking at the basil melt of the Ross and McMurdo ice shelf’s, this involved skidooing over 2000km crossing crevasse fields and getting as close as safely possible to the edge of the iceshelf. In my time working in Antarctica I have also skidooed up Mt Erebus for a search and rescue training exercise, put in new routes on the newly formed sea ice, coordinated the safety in a rescue of a bulldozer that had broken through the ice and and rescued a Hagglund from a melt pool.

Simon Shelton

Simon has always had a passion for Antarctica that has drawn him to work on the continent both in the field, and in base leadership roles. He has been fortunate to spend time in such locations as the Dry Valleys, Cape Royds and Evans, Minna bluff, Skelton Neve and the South Pole. He was the Antarctica New Zealand winter base leader and joint NZ/US Search and Rescue team leader in 2012 and is now the Antarctica New Zealand project manager for the redevelopment work at Scott Base. He is eagerly looking forward to another winter at Scott base.

Anthony Powell

Anthony Powell picked up his first job in Antarctica as the Communications Tech at Scott Base in 1998. He has now spent over 100 months in Antarctica, including 9 winters. He is a self-taught photographer and film maker, who had to design and build many of the camera systems himself in order to come up with equipment that can still function in the extreme cold of the Antarctic winter.
He has had his footage appear in numerous museums, TV shows, and films, including US Natural History Museum, National Geographic, Discovery, and was featured in BBC's Frozen Planet series. His first feature film Antarctica: A Year On Ice has now picked up over 20 major festival awards around the world, and will be getting a US theatrical release and Academy Award qualifying run later this year.

Kerry Barton

Landcare Research

Kerry had counted a lot of penguins from aerial photographs before she saw her first real birds - the sight, the sound, the smell and her excitement are still vivid in her mind. This was in 1990, at Cape Royds - a small penguin colony on Ross Island. For the next 19 summers Kerry had the privilege of working and living at Adelie colonies, part of a team investigating penguin population dynamics, in the best natural laboratory in the world.


Alison Ballance

Our Changing World, Radio New Zealand

Alison Ballance is a zoologist, author and broadcaster. She co-presents Radio New Zealand’s weekly science and environment show Our Changing World, and used to direct and produce wildlife documentaries. Her career has taken her around the world, from Antarctica to Mongolia, as well as to many of New Zealand’s wild places and islands. Alison spent 4 months – in winter - on Campbell Island, studying feral sheep, and has returned to the subantarctic a number of times. She is about to head to the Antipodes islands for a month.

Hanne Nielsen

University of Tasmania

Hanne Nielsen holds a Masters in Antarctic Studies from the University of Canterbury, and is currently working towards a PhD in Representations of Antarctica at the University of Tasmania. She has visited Antarctica 5 times, both with the PCAS course, and working as a guide on Antarctic tour ships, where she lectures on human interactions with the southern continent. As an active member of the Association of Early Career Scientists and the New Zealand Antarctic Society, Hanne enjoys sharing her passion for the Southern Continent with both her academic peers and the wider community.

Events: Cool Chicks

Ellen Sima

The Centre of Science Communication, University of Otago

After studying marine science and zoology and dabbling in freshwater fish research, Ellen Sima moved to New Zealand from Australia to take her Masters in Science Communication at the University of Otago. Now in her final year, she’s teamed up with fellow student Lydia McLean and IceFest to create Beneath the Blooming Ice, an exhibition celebrating some of Antarctica’s smallest but most important organisms: marine phytoplankton. 

Kylie (Wakelin) Krippner

Kylie (Wakelin) Krippner is a pilot based in Wanaka, she owns and operates the company U-FLY. Before working as a pilot Kylie spent 15 years operating boats on the Tasman Glacier Terminal Lake where her love of the alpine environment evolved into two stints in Antarctica.  The first was a season working for the British Antartctic Survey based on the Antarctic Peninsula, the second was a once in a lifetime adventure where she joined a team of women from various Commonwealth countries who endeavoured to ski to the South Pole, becoming the first Kiwi woman to do so.

Gemma Collins

University of Waikato

Gemma Collins is a Master's student at the University of Waikato. She studies the consequences of environmental temperature changes on the genetic diversity of natural populations in Antarctica. Her primary focus is the springtails or Collembola--tiny insect-like animals which are the largest year-round inhabitants of the Antarctic continent. Gemma visited the Dry Valley region during the 2013/2014 season and will be returning in the 2014/2015 season to collect further samples that will form the basis of her PhD research.

Dr Drew Lohrer


Drew’s primary research interest at present is marine ecosystem functioning—feedbacks and interactions that influence processes such as primary production and nutrient regeneration—and how this is altered by human activities. During his career to date Drew has worked with non-indigenous species in rocky intertidal habitats, bed forming oysters in salt marshes, burrowing invertebrates in estuarine sediments, and coastal seafloor species in Antarctica.  This year will be Drew’s 5th trip to Antarctica for SCUBA based research under sea ice.  

Dr Gary Steel

Lincoln University

Gary Steel received his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of British Columbia. For twenty-five years, his primary research focus has been the psychology of extreme and unusual environments. For the most part, this research have been conducted in the polar regions, including field work in the Canadian High Arctic (Little Cornwallis Island, Ellesmere Island, Ellef Ringnes Island, Amund Ringness Island, and Prince Patrick Island) and the Antarctic (Base Marambio, McMurdo Station, Amundsen-Scott Station, and  Scott Base).

Events: Poles Apart

Associate Professor Jenni Adams

Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Canterbury 

Jenni Adams is an Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Canterbury. She is particularly interested in neutrino physics and her recent research involvement centres on the IceCube neutrino telescope. Jenni has recently returned to Canterbury after a year as a visiting Professor at the Discovery Center and the Neils Bohr Institute at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark. When not researching our universe, Jenni may be found orienteering in some far off corner of the globe.

Michelle Rogan-Finnemore

Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs (COMNAP)

Michelle is the Executive Secretary for the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs (COMNAP). The COMNAP Secretariat is headquartered in Christchurch. Michelle has worked on Antarctic issues for 25 years. Previously, Michelle was the Manager of Gateway Antarctica at the University of Canterbury. She has degrees in science (geology) and law (international law), and has overwintered twice with the US Antarctic Program. She has also worked with the New Zealand Antarctic program and was awarded the US Antarctica Service Medal.

Events: Cool Chicks

Dr Regina Eisert

Gateway Antarctica, University of Canterbury

Dr Regina Eisert first travelled to “The Ice” in the course of a Ph.D. on Weddell seals. A degree in animal science at Lincoln University, followed by working at the Smithsonian Institution, provided a solid grounding in animal physiology, energetics, and nutrition, skills which Dr Eisert now applies studying Antarctic marine mammals. Her current research focuses on the top predators of the Ross Sea ecosystem, seals and killer whales, and their ability to act as sentinels of ecosystem health.

Kimberley Collins

Kimberley Collins is a science communicator and prolific tweeter @kimi_collins. She recently visited the Antipodes Islands with the Department of Conservation as part of the Million Dollar Mouse Project to eradicate mice from the islands. She is interested in using digital media to engage New Zealanders with remote locations such as the SubAntarctic Islands and Antarctica.

Nathan Cross

Nathan had the great fortune to spend two full years working at Scott Base for Antarctica New Zealand, during the 2006/07 and 2008/09 seasons. This work introduced him to the world of technical science support as the Science Technician and Winter Base Leader. Antarctica is never far from Nathan's thoughts and he looks forward to catching up with both New Zealand and American (McMurdo Station) staff when they pass through Christchurch each season.

Hannah Beehre

With a professional practice spanning fifteen years, Hannah has shown in galleries and festivals in New Zealand and around the world. Hannah gained a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Canterbury. She has been an Olivia Spencer Bower Trust Award Recipient and Artist in Residence at Scott Base, Antarctic Summer 2012. Her often playful work examines notions of magic. These explorations of the natural world are inhabited by the exotic, the sublime and the monstrous. She is a storyteller and a collector, and her cabinet of curiosities reflects her sense of wonder while suggesting that things may not be as they seem.

Dr Hugh Logan

Dr. Hugh Logan’s connections with Antarctica go back to the 1970s. His M.A. thesis from Canterbury University, Cold Commitment, was a pioneering study of New Zealand’s involvement with the continent. He has a PhD in environmental public policy. He has visited Antarctica over 20 times. For four years in the 1980s he headed the Antarctic Division of DSIR, the predecessor of Antarctica New Zealand. He has been a public service chief executive as Director General of DoC for 9 years and Chief Executive of the Ministry for the Environment for 2 years. He has been (and is still!) an active climber and adventurer, a past president of the New Zealand Alpine Club, and current President of the Canterbury Mountaineering Club. 

Andy Cole

Andy Cole, mountain guide is the Director of 4 Peaks Adventures and has spent time in Antarctica supporting Scientists on a range of scientific adventures. From Cosmogenic Rock Sampling in the Escapade Range, sediment logging near the Beardmore Glacier or working with Weddell Seals, Andy has been involved with an awesome variety of Antarctica Science. When not in Antarctica, Andy is a mountain guide in New Zealand and is based out of Wanaka.

Stephen Horn

Department of Conservation/ Million Dollar Mouse Project

Stephen returned to New Zealand at the start of 2014 after 20 months on Macquarie Island working as part of the eradication project to rid Macquarie of rabbits, rats and mice. He returned to undertake the project management of the mouse eradication on Antipodes Island. Stephen's past experience includes working for DOC on the Kakapo recovery programme.

Guy Cotter

Adventure Consultants Ltd

Guy Cotter is a mountaineer and mountain guide based in Wanaka, from where he operates his guiding company Adventure Consultants ltd.
Guy has reached the summit of six 8000 metre peaks; Manaslu, Gasherbrum 2, Cho Oyu, Makalu, Lhotse and Everest 4 times. He has climbed the 7 summits, skied to the South Pole and done numerous Antarctic expeditions including several ascents of Vinson Massif, the first ascent of Mt Slaughter and a number of first ascents on the Antarctic Peninsula.

Veronika Meduna

Radio New Zealand

Veronika Meduna is a science writer and broadcaster. As a presenter and producer of Radio New Zealand’s weekly science programme Our Changing World, she has told hundreds of science stories, as well as writing for natural history and science magazines. Her latest book, Science on Ice: Discovering the Secrets of Antarctica, published by Auckland University Press and Yale University Press, was a finalist in the 2013 Science Book awards. Veronika has also written and curated science exhibitions, including the Antarctic Time Travel exhibition, which you can see at NZ IceFest.

Colin Monteath

Colin Monteath is a freelance polar and mountain photographer who has had 31 summers in Antarctica and 4 in the Arctic…plus over 20 expeditions in the Himalaya. His polar imagery is well-known appearing in dozens of books and magazines. Colin has authored 12 books, six of which are on Antarctica. Colin was the first New Zealander to climb Vinson Massif, Antarctica’s highest peak and made the first descent into Mt Erebus crater in 1978. He worked for the New Zealand Antarctic research programme from 1973 to 1983 as Field Operations Officer.

Melissa Idiens

Melissa is an international policy consultant with a specialist background in the Antarctic Treaty System, UN global shipping issues, and European Union issues. She has contracted to a number of international secretariats, foreign governments and environmental groups over the past five years, and has worked at the past four Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meetings as a professional rapporteur. Melissa’s consulting work over the past 18 months has predominately involved working towards the designation of two high seas Marine Protected Areas in the Southern Ocean, currently under discussion at the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR). 

Jana Newman

Antarctica New Zealand

Jana has recently been appointed as General Manager of Policy, Environment and Safety at Antarctica New Zealand, after working in the Environmental team there since 2006. Her work has focused on environmental protection, linking Antarctic science and policy, and strengthening the Antarctic Treaty System. Jana was an Enderby Trust Scholar, has completed the Graduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies, and has a Masters degree in Antarctic glaciology. She has also worked for DOC on Stewart Island, the Subantarctic Islands and Raoul Island.

Kaila Colbin

Ministry of Awesome / TEDxChristchurch

Kaila Colbin is a co-founder and trustee of the non-profit Ministry of Awesome, the Curator of TEDxChristchurch and the founder and director of New Zealand social media consultancy Missing Link. She is also Chairman of the Board of New York’s Natural Gourmet Institute, a board member of CORE Education Ltd, and a member of the Advisory Board for the Christchurch Transitional Architecture Trust. She is one of just 17 New Zealanders trained by Al Gore to deliver the Inconvenient Truth presentation. 
Image: Neil Macbeth

Henry Sunderland

Henry is a highly creative lateral thinker and community artist with a predilection for the iconic and kitsch. His whose works, projects and ideas have inspired countless thousands of young and old since 1967, engaging the community, bringing the child out of the adult, and art into the streets. With a ready wit, acerbic social conscience and highly developed communication skills, Henry is adept in using fun to make a serious point, with ideas quickly shared and often gaining traction. Consequently, he is highly successful in influencing community leaders, engaging national and international media as both an exhibition space and means to encourage thought and debate on community public art, good and bad taste, and areas of much-needed environmental awareness.

Dr Jesse Blackadder

Jesse Blackadder 

Dr Jesse Blackadder is an Australian author fascinated by adventurous women and cold landscapes. Her latest novel ‘Chasing the Light’ (Fourth Estate 2013) is based on the true story of the earliest women to visit Antarctica. She is an Australian Antarctic Arts Fellow, and travelled to East Antarctica for her research. She also won the 2012 Guy Morrison Prize for Literary Journalism for her essay on women and Antarctica and has written a junior novel ‘Stay: The last Dog in Antarctica’. 

Events: Cool Chicks

Richard Cunningham

One Ocean Expeditions

Richard Cunningham is the Manager (AUS/NZ) for One Ocean Expeditions, a Canadian polar voyage operator. The company operate two ice-strengthened expedition ships – the Akademik Ioffe and sister ship, Akademik Sergey Vavilov, widely regarded as the two best polar expedition vessels in the world. Areas visited include the wildlife-rich Antarctic Peninsula and Weddell Sea and the sub-Antarctic Falkland Islands and South Georgia. Richard has been involved in the promotion of Antarctic travel and tourism for more than 15 years. He also works aboard the ships during the Antarctic season.

Professor Craig Cary

Biological Sciences, University of Waikato

Craig is a microbial ecologist by training and works on bacteria that live in extreme environments all around the world. His research has taken him from the bottom of the ocean to visit and sample deep-sea hydrothermal vents to the summit of Mt Erebus in Antarctica. His recent work has focused on bacteria that thrive in the coldest driest place on earth – the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica where his team is investigating why diversity is so high in such an extreme habitat.

Dist Professor Anne Noble

Te Whiti O Rehua School of Art, Massey University

Distinguished Professor of Fine Arts at Massey University, Wellington, Anne is one of New Zealand’s leading photographers, producing comprehensive series of work spanning landscape, documentary, and installation. Since 2001 she has been researching and photographing Antarctica, an extension of her interests in how photography shapes our understanding of the places we know and inhabit. She has made three visits to Antarctica – the most recent in 2008 as a National Science Foundation Polar Arts Fellow. In 2011 and 2014 Clouds, NZ published Ice Blink and The Last Road, the first two volumes of a trilogy devoted to her photographic investigations of Antarctica. In 2009 she received a New Zealand Arts Foundation Laureate award in recognition of her contribution to the visual arts in New Zealand. She is in the United States this year as a Fulbright Senior Scholar collaborating with scientists in the development of a new series of projects concerned with human threats to biological systems and the decline of the honey bee.

Andy Roberts

Department of Conservation

Andy Roberts has worked in the areas of conservation management, threatened species recovery and pest eradication for over 30 years. Most of his career to date has been spent in Southland working on threatened species recovery projects such as kakapo, South Island saddleback, New Zealand dotterel, short-tailed bats, and pest eradication on over 20 different islands including Whenua Hou/Codfish Island, and Campbell Island in the Subantarctic. Currently Andy is working as Director of Conservation Services Eastern South Island, based in Christchurch.

Dr Jeremy ‘Jay’ Piggott

Department of Zoology, University of Otago

Dr. Piggott is a Research Fellow in the Department of Zoology at the University of Otago. His research in New Zealand, Japan and Germany investigates how climate change and multiple stressors threaten freshwater ecosystems. He was the inaugural Antarctic Youth Ambassador for the Sir Peter Blake Leadership Trust and has previously held research positions at the National University of Singapore and Kyoto University in Japan. Beyond his research, he is an internationally accomplished youth leader and mountaineer. 

Sue Stubenvoll

Albatrosses drew Sue south in 2000. Returning was a ‘Billy Graham moment’. Why be mean when Antarctica inspires such peace? It’s not just the vastness. Modern research demands courage, tenacity and comradeship just like historic exploration. Inside each Cantabrian lives an Antarctican. Sue founded Antarctic Link Canterbury in 2000 to foster collaboration. She is past Vice President and Canterbury Branch Chair of the New Zealand Antarctic Society and is coordinating the Lyttelton Sled Dog Project.

Anna Pearson

Anna Pearson spent a month at Scott Base in 2012/13 as Antarctica New Zealand’s media scholar. She is a journalist/photographer and loves observing/documenting life and the people in it. In Antarctica, Anna photographed a woman leaving a windowless bar amid 24-hour daylight, a Catholic priest on duty at the bottom of the world and a giant hamster wheel at McMurdo Station. She also wrote stories about New Zealand-led Antarctic science, waste management at Scott Base and the Kiwi Ski Hill.

Peter Neff

Antarctic Research Centre, Victoria University / GNS Science

Peter Neff, a glaciologist and geochemist, specializes in using ice cores from polar and alpine regions to learn about past climate. He has participated in ice core research projects on the Greenland and West Antarctic ice sheets, as well as in the mountains of British Columbia, Canada. Peter is in the final year of his PhD studying dust in ice cores from Roosevelt Island, Antarctica, which he helped retrieve as part of a New Zealand-led group of international scientists and engineers.

Associate Professor Craig Stevens

NIWA / The University of Auckland 

Craig Stevens is a physical oceanographer with a joint position at NIWA and the University of Auckland. His research focus is on the fate of energy injected into the planet’s oceans at celestial scales (tides, solar heating) and how energy exchange processes affect us all. He uses these experiences, placed in a societal context, to help explain why we do environmental science, what it means and why we should keep doing it.
Photo credit: Niki Davey, NIWA.

Chris Stinson

Generation Zero

Chris is a Chemistry Student at the University of Canterbury with a keen interest in science communication and the interaction of science with culture and society. Chris has been involved with Generation Zero since the formation of the Christchurch team last year and worked on a number of projects around issues of advocating public/active transport and getting climate change solutions on the political agenda.

Professor Anne-Marie Brady

Editor-in-chief The Polar Journal / The University of Canterbury, Political Science Department / Gateway Antarctica

Anne-Marie Brady is a specialist of Chinese and polar politics, the author of 8 books and over 40 scholarly articles. She is founding editor and editor-in-chief of The Polar Journal, an inter-disciplinary social sciences and humanities journal published by Taylor and Francis in the UK. Dr Brady teaches politics at the University of Canterbury and is a Research Fellow at Gateway Antarctica.

Professor Karen Scott

University of Canterbury, School of Law / Gateway Antarctica

Karen researches and teaches in the areas of international environmental law, law of the sea and Antarctic law and policy. She has published widely in international journals on topics such as environmental governance, marine protected areas and climate engineering. She is the editor (with Don Rothwell and Alan Hemmings) of Antarctic Security in the Twenty-First Century: Legal and Policy Perspectives. Karen is the Vice President of the Australian and New Zealand Society of International Law (ANZSIL).

Dr Neil Gilbert

Constantia Consulting ltd / Environmental Consultant to Antarctica New Zealand 

Neil has spent nearly 30 years working on and in Antarctica. His PhD on nearshore marine ecology was undertaken during a two and half year stay at one of the UK's research stations, Signy Island. Neil was Base Commander for Signy station for four years and then joined the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office as Deputy Head of its Polar Regions Section, before joining Antarctica New Zealand as Environmental Manager in 2003. Neil has represented the UK and New Zealand at numerous Antarctic Treaty meetings. In 2006 Neil was elected to the Chair of the 35-country Committee for Environmental Protection: the primary environmental advisory body to the Antarctic Treaty Parties. Neil left Antarctica New Zealand in 2014 to set up his own environmental consultancy, and continues to provide expertise and advice on Antarctic matters to the New Zealand government.

Dr Victoria Metcalf

Lincoln University

Victoria has made seven trips to the Antarctic, for research purposes or moonlighting as a cruise director on ecotourism ships. She has been researching Antarctic fish and invertebrates since 1998. Her overarching research theme is assessing effects of global change, particularly exploring effects of changes in temperature, ocean acidification and pollution. She is a committed, passionate science communicator and really enjoys as part of her outreach activities working with school children of all ages.

Hana Christenson

Gateway Antarctica, University of Canterbury

Hana is a PhD student in Antarctic Studies at the University of Canterbury, and has previously studied environmental chemistry. Her current research is looking into nutrient chemistry in meltwater ponds, small aquatic systems which are common, especially in the ice free areas of Antarctica. Abundant water makes these ponds a major habitat for life; though nutrient availability can limit growth. She studies the phosphorus cycle, identifying the main sources of phosphorus to meltwater ponds and the factors that influence its bioavailability.

Neville Peat

Neville Peat is an award-winning Dunedin writer specialising in geography, biography, history and the natural environment. Among his 30-plus titles are five on Antarctic themes, including Shackleton’s Whisky, published in 2012. The UK edition was named ‘Book of the Week’ by the London Daily Mail. In 2007, Neville was awarded New Zealand’s largest literary prize, the Creative New Zealand Michael King Writers’ Fellowship, to research and write The Tasman – Biography of an Ocean

Lizzie Meek

Antarctic Heritage Trust 

Lizzie is the Artefact Programme Manager for the Antarctic Heritage Trust and is responsible for the planning and implementation of the Trust’s artefact conservation programme, covering more than 18,000 artefacts. She was responsible for the conservation and care of ‘Shackleton’s Whisky’. Lizzie has led and worked with teams of conservators in Antarctica since 2008 and has held heritage conservation posts at the National Library of New Zealand and the British Library. 

Nigel Watson

Antarctic Heritage Trust

Nigel Watson is the Executive Director of the Antarctic Heritage Trust, a New Zealand charity which cares for the expedition bases left by Captain Robert Falcon Scott, Sir Ernest Shackleton and Sir Edmund Hillary in Antarctica. With a passion for the polar regions, Nigel has been on several expeditions to both the Arctic and Antarctic, including skiing to the North Pole, and has led expeditions to Antarctica for 15 years. He is co-author of Still Life: Inside the Antarctic Huts of Scott and Shackleton. Nigel is the Secretary-General of the ICOMOS International Polar Heritage Committee. A solicitor by profession, he has qualifications in law, commerce and Antarctic studies. 

Dr Vonda Cummings


Vonda Cummings is a marine ecologist with a keen interest in what influences composition and functioning of seafloor communities. Her research has included surveys and experiments focused on understanding flora and fauna of Ross Sea and New Zealand coastal ecosystems, the major environmental factors influencing them, and how they might respond to near-future changes in climate. 

Associate Professor Graham Barrell

Faculty of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Lincoln University

Graham is a New Zealander, born in Christchurch, who is currently an Associate Professor at Lincoln University. His teaching and research is focused on hormones and their function, primarily in sheep and deer. His research in Antarctica focused on the physiology of lactating Weddell seals, investigating melatonin levels in blood during constant daylight, and biochemical and nutritional aspects of fasting during lactation. He loses money but, hopefully, keeps fit by farming beef cattle on a 100-hectare dryland property at the head of Lytellton Harbour.

Professor Ian Hawes

Gateway Antarctica, University of Canterbury

Ian Hawes has over 30 years of research experience in Arctic and Antarctic ecosystems, much of it involving under-ice studies of lakes and coastal ecosystems. His area of expertise is in photosynthetic communities, and the current focus is on how the algae and bacteria at the base of food chains are responding to changing environmental conditions.  

Frank Graveson

After graduating BE from Otago University, Frank went to Scott Base for the 1962/63 summer where he had responsibility for the base dogs. He stayed on for the winter and then, as one of two dog handlers, took part in the last of the major exploratory journeys which relied on huskies. With six men and 36 dogs, they sledged 3000 kilometres and surveyed some 100,000 square kilometres of Northern Victoria Land. Four team members were awarded the Polar medal.

Associate Professor Pat Langhorne

Department of Physics, University of Otago

Professor Pat Langhorne has been fascinated by the polar regions since her teenage years. After undergraduate physics in Scotland, she completed a PhD on sea ice at the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge. In 1985 she took part in an Antarctic experiment, which introduced her to New Zealand. Since 1988 she has been teaching physics and researching sea ice physical processes at the University of Otago. She has taken part in about twenty research visits to Antarctica with students and collaborators.

Professor Bryan Storey

Gateway Antarctica, University of Canterbury

Bryan Storey became Professor of Antarctic Studies and the first Director of Gateway Antarctica, the Centre for Antarctic Studies and Research at the University of Canterbury in 2000. Prior to this appointment, he spent 24 years as an Antarctic researcher with the British Antarctic Survey leading and developing research programmes in Antarctica and pursuing research on the geological evolution of Antarctica within Gondwana. He was awarded a Polar Medal by Her Majesty the Queen in 1987 for his outstanding achievements in Antarctic research.

Dr Rochelle Constantine

School of Biological Sciences and Institute of Marine Science, University of Auckland

Rochelle is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Auckland and runs the Marine Mammal Ecology Group. She uses an inter-disciplinary approach to answering questions about cetacean ecology and collaborates widely to try and resolve some of the conservation issues facing cetaceans from the tropics to Antarctica. As a consequence of the breadth of her research she is a member of several international scientific panels overseeing cetacean research and conservation programmes. She is on the Steering Committee for the Southern Ocean Research Partnership, dedicated to non-lethal whale research. She’s happier in Antarctica than the tropics but the whales are much harder to find down there.

Dr Kurt Joy

Gateway Antarctica, University of Canterbury

Kurt is a glacial geomorphologist with five Antarctic field seasons in the ice free valleys of Antarctica. Following the completion of his PhD his primary research interest now lies in the role of climate change in the evolution of the Antarctic landscape. The unique setting of the McMurdo Dry Valleys has provided insights into the past behaviour of the Antarctic ice sheets and their role in biodiversity. 

Professor Craig Rodger

Department of Physics, University of Otago

Craig Rodger is a Space Physicist from the University of Otago. He was schooled in Wellington and Dunedin, and did his university study at the University of Otago. After a Post-Doc at the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge, he returned to Dunedin in 2000 and joined the academic staff at Otago University in 2001. He co-leads the Antarctic-Arctic Radiationbelt (Dynamic) Deposition – VLF Atmospheric Research Konsortium (AARDDVARK). Craig is a dynamic speaker, winning an Otago Teaching Excellence Award in 2011.

Dr Wolfgang Rack

Gateway Antarctica, University of Canterbury

Wolfgang Rack is a senior lecturer for satellite remote sensing at Gateway Antarctica, the Centre for Antarctic Research at the University of Canterbury. He holds a PhD from the University of Innsbruck (Austria) for studies on the collapse of the Larsen Ice Shelf at the Antarctic Peninsula. The focus of his research is the mass balance of the Antarctic ice sheet and sea ice. He has spent 10 seasons on the ice validating satellite measurements for studies in climate change.

Ceisha Poirot

Antarctica New Zealand

Ceisha Poirot is an Environmental Manager at Antarctica New Zealand. She is responsible for leading and supporting Antarctica New Zealand's Environmental Management System, she also enhances New Zealand's leadership role in stewardship of the Antarctic environment through input to the Antarctic Treaty system's Committee for Environmental Protection. She has worked in the role for six years. 

Dr Ursula Rack

Gateway Antarctica, University of Canterbury

Ursula Rack is an Adjunct Fellow of Gateway Antarctica and a tutor in history at the University of Canterbury. Her research focus is on social and environmental history of polar exploration. She received a COMNAP fellowship in 2012/13 for the project “Reconstructing historic Antarctic climate data from logbooks and diaries of the Heroic era” which is still continuing. Ursula is a member of the NZ Antarctic Society and a committee member in the “Sled Dog Project” team in Lyttelton. 

Dr. Emma Stewart

Lincoln University

Emma Stewart is a senior lecturer in Parks and Tourism at Lincoln University, as well as a Research Associate with the Arctic Institute of North America, Canada. She claims to be bi-polar (in a geographic sense) as she has worked in both polar regions! She was involved in a variety of social science projects at Scott Base (from 1996-2012) and in the Canadian Arctic and Svalbard (2003-2014).

Events: Poles Apart

Professor Susan Krumdieck

Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Canterbury

Susan is the originator of Transition Engineering and Director of the Advanced Energy and Material Systems Lab. She has served as President of Engineers for Social Responsibility, was appointed to the RSNZ Energy Panel, and is the head of EAST Research Consultants Ltd. She has delivered more than 140 invited keynote and seminar presentations to community groups, councils and professional organizations on energy transition in the last 8 years. Susan was the convener of the Signs of Change conference in 2010, guest editor of Energy Policy, and was selected the IET Prestige lecturer for 2010.

Dr Malcolm Laird

Dr Malcolm Laird first visited Antarctica in 1960, as a geologist with a dog sledging party in the unexplored Nimrod Glacier region of the Transantarctic Mountains. This was extremely rewarding geologically with the discovery of 530 million year old fossils proving the connection with Australia and the ancient supercontinent of Gondwana. After joining the NZ Geological Survey, he subsequently organised and led five more expeditions to Antarctica, took part in the international Cape Roberts Drilling Programme and was awarded the Polar Medal.