About NZ IceFest

NZ IceFest highlights New Zealand’s leadership in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.

This unique Christchurch festival focuses the world’s attention to the importance of the mysterious continent and its surrounds.

Through creative and interactive experiences the Festival brings Antarctica to the general public, the Antarctic community and international visitors.

Introduction from the Director

My first awareness of Antarctica was as a girl standing on Oreti Beach in Southland, feeling the cold winds from the South and imagining the mysterious land that lay over the ocean. Since taking up the role of NZ IceFest Director in 2013, I have come to learn more about Antarctica and its importance, not only to Christchurch, but to the world.

Much time has been spent with our partners learning about their involvement with Antarctica and the Southern Ocean and developing joint projects. With over 50 partners, this is a multi-disciplinary international festival, unique in its subject matter and programming.

NZ IceFest 2014 was located in the heart of Christchurch, in Cathedral Square. Our NZ IceFest Hub was host to all things Antarctic, from impressive exhibitions to engaging speakers and activities.

Highlights included: 

The Antarctic Time Travel exhibition which enabled people to learn about climate change challenges facing Antarctica and the world. 

Stepping aboard Antarctic planes at the U.S. Antarctic Program Air Day and getting a behind-the-scenes understanding of how a logistics base operates.

The speaker series covered everything from ice diving to Shackleton’s whisky. With over 100 presenters, there was something to suit everyone.

The Breaking Ice symposium where leading artists, scientists, and designers discussed solutions to climate change and environmental health issues.

The 2014 NZ IceFest has finished, but we will be back in 2016, so keep tuned and be there for the 2016 festival for a warm experience of the coldest continent.

Chloë Dear
NZ IceFest Director

 

Our Vision

NZ IceFest highlights New Zealand’s leadership in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. This unique Christchurch festival focuses the world’s attention to the importance of the mysterious continent and its surrounds. Through creative and interactive experiences the Festival brings Antarctica to the general public, the Antarctic community and international visitors.

 

Our Goals

  1. Highlight and value the importance of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean to New Zealand and the World.
  2. Highlight how Climate Change will affect New Zealanders and the global public, making the issue accessible to all, enabling change on a personal, community, organisational and policy level. 
  3. Establish NZ IceFest as the key outreach vehicle for our Antarctic partners and provide world-class public engagement experiences.
  4. Ensure an iconic, sustainable and international Festival.
  5. Cement New Zealand as the world’s leading ‘Gateway to Antarctica’.
  6. Attract nationwide and international exposure and visitors to New Zealand to cement the country as a place to live, visit and do business.

 

Festival History

The Christchurch Antarctic Festival was created in 2005 as a local community event as a means of celebrate Christchurch’s special Antarctic Gateway status, the Antarctic expertise in Christchurch and the historic connections Canterbury has had with Antarctica for over 100 years. 

This public event emerged from the Antarctic Season Opening celebrations hosted by the Christchurch Mayor to farewell the US and New Zealand Antarctic personnel departing to Antarctica for the summer season and to recognise the US Antarctic Program in Christchurch.

Following the 2008 festival, the steering team of the Christchurch Antarctic Festival decided to develop the festival into a truly international festival to be hosted biennially in the city with a broader scope. This has become what we now know as New Zealand IceFest. The inaugural festival was held in Hagley Park in 2012, co-hosting the 2012 Antarctic Season Opening Civic Function. 

In Sept/Oct 2014, we have delivered the second NZ IceFest back in the heart of the city and are now in the planning stages for NZ IceFest 2016.

For highlights from both 2012 and 2014 please view the Past Festivals' Page.