The Trust was honoured to have New Zealand Prime Minister Rt Hon Jacinda Ardern launch a new book, ‘Hillary’s Antarctica’, at an event in the New Zealand Parliament Grand Hall in late October.
Written by the Antarctic Heritage Trust’s Executive Director Nigel Watson and illustrated with photography by Jane Ussher, ‘Hillary’s Antarctica’ is the first book to fully document and celebrate the contribution Sir Edmund Hillary and the New Zealand team made to Antarctic history, and the legacy they left behind. Published by Allen and Unwin, the book also features historic images and never-before-seen ephemera and diary entries.
Before officially launching the book, the Prime Minister spoke of her passion for Antarctica and her personal admiration for polar explorers such as Shackleton and Hillary in inspiring future generations with their endeavours.
There was a real buzz in the room with a number of Trust supporters present along with dignitaries and Members of Parliament. It was particularly special to have members of the Hillary family in attendance, along with TAE/IGY expedition members and descendants of expedition members.
‘Hillary’s Antarctica’ profiles exploration, science and discovery in the world’s most extreme environment. Beyond the famed tractor journey Sir Edmund Hillary took to the South Pole, the book tells the great adventures the New Zealand Trans-Antarctic Expedition and International Geophysical Year team undertook on the Ice in the 1950s. The book also documents the subsequent efforts to conserve the legacy Hillary’s team left behind.
The Trust recently finished conservation on Hillary’s (TAE/IGY) Hut and are proud to care for it as part of the remarkable legacy of five historic explorer bases it manages through the Ross Sea Heritage Restoration Project.
Nigel is an authority on Antarctic history and is, along with Jane, the co-author of the acclaimed ‘Still Life: Inside the Historic Huts of Scott and Shackleton’ which became an immersive museum exhibition, and a contributor to Assouline's South Pole. Jane Ussher is highly respected for her documentary work as a photographer and is regarded as one of New Zealand's foremost portrait photographers, with a number of published books as well as a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to photography.