|Sovereign state||New Zealand|
|Claim transferred to New Zealand||1923|
|Sector claim||160°E – 150°W|
and administrative centre
| Scott Base |
|Government||Dependency under a constitutional monarchy|
|Dame Cindy Kiro|
|450,000 km2 (170,000 sq mi)|
• Seasonal estimate
|Currency||New Zealand dollar (NZ$) (NZD)|
|Time zone||UTC+12:00 (NZST)|
• Summer (DST)
|Calling code||+64 2409|
The Ross Dependency is a region of Antarctica defined by a sector originating at the South Pole, passing along longitudes 160° east to 150° west, and terminating at latitude 60° south. It is claimed by New Zealand, a claim accepted only by the other six countries with territorial claims in Antarctica. Under the 1961 Antarctic Treaty, of which all territorial claimants are signatories, including New Zealand, all claims are held in abeyance. Article IV states: "No acts or activities taking place while the present Treaty is in force shall constitute a basis for asserting, supporting or denying a claim to territorial sovereignty in Antarctica or create any rights of sovereignty in Antarctica".
The Dependency takes its name from Sir James Clark Ross, who discovered the Ross Sea and includes part of Victoria Land, and most of the Ross Ice Shelf. Ross, Balleny, Scott and Roosevelt Islands also form part of the Dependency.
Following his discovery of Victoria Land in 1841, James Clark Ross took possession of this territory, along with the surrounding sea, on behalf of Britain. On 30 July 1923, the British Government passed an Order in Council under the British Settlements Act 1887, which defined the current borders of the Ross Dependency as follows:
From and after the publication of this Order in the Government Gazette of the Dominion of New Zealand that part of His Majesty's Dominions in the Antarctic Seas, which comprises all the islands and territories between the 160th degree of East Longitude and the 150th degree of West Longitude which are situated south of the 60th degree of South Latitude shall be named the Ross Dependency.
The Order in Council then went on to appoint the governor-general and commander-in-chief of New Zealand as the governor of the territory.This Order in Council was published in the New Zealand Gazette on 16 August 1923, and on 14 November 1923, the governor-general issued regulations extending New Zealand law to the Ross Dependency.
After the Order in Council was read in the New Zealand House of Representatives by the Prime Minister of New Zealand William Massey, a clarification was made by the Attorney-General Sir Francis Bell in the legislative council. Bell stated:
The boundaries of New Zealand are not extended to include the Ross sea and adjacent lands. His Majesty's delegation to the Governor-General of New Zealand did not confer upon the government or parliament of New Zealand the same powers as were vested by the Constitution Act in respect of the Dominion itself. It might be assumed that in the administration of the Ross Dependency that he would invite advice from his New Zealand ministers and it was certain that details would be entrusted to the New Zealand Government. But his excellency was required in all matters of legislation and regulation for the Ross Territory to comply with instructions from the colonial secretary. There was no reason to believe that the Colonial Office would give such instructions without prior consultation with the Government of the Dominion, but the part which the New Zealand Government had agreed to take in enabling His Majesty to exercise jurisdiction in and over the Ross Territory must be taken on behalf of the Empire as a whole and not specially in the interests of New Zealand.
It has been said that the Order in Council contained no suggestion of a transfer to New Zealand of the United Kingdom's claim,but the fact remains that the territory is administered by the Government of New Zealand. Technically, the claim is that of the monarch and they can exercise it through any of their governments.
At an Imperial Conference in 1930,it was agreed that the governors-general of the Dominions would be appointed by the king on the advice of the Dominion in question. And following the passing of the Statute of Westminster in 1931 (which was adopted in full by New Zealand in 1947), the Government of the United Kingdom relinquished all control over the government of New Zealand. This however had no bearing on the obligations of the governor-general of New Zealand in their capacity as governor of the Ross Dependency on the appointment of the Government of the United Kingdom. Then in the year 1959, the Antarctic Treaty was signed by twelve nations, which included both the United Kingdom and New Zealand.
The actual amount of land mass claimed is not large; most of the area defined as being in the Ross Dependency is either in the Ross Sea or the Antarctic Ocean. It is the second-smallest of the claims which were made before the implementation of the Antarctic Treaty System and the suspension of all territorial claims to Antarctica proper. Officers of the Government of the Ross Dependency are annually appointed to run the Dependency. The New Zealand Geographic Board has named many features within the Dependency.
The scientific bases of Scott Base (New Zealand), McMurdo Station (US), Zucchelli Station (Italy) and Jang Bogo Station (South Korea) are the only permanently occupied human habitations in the area, though Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station (US) is partially within the territory and dependent on logistics operations based in New Zealand. China is establishing a year-round research station at Inexpressible Island in Terra Nova Bay of the Ross Sea that is expected to open in 2022.The Dependency has access to US Antarctic Program-maintained snow runways at Williams Field and Phoenix Airfield, and – depending on conditions and time of year – the Ice Runway. This guarantees accessibility by wheeled and ski-equipped aircraft year-round.
From 1969 to 1995 New Zealand operated a summer-only base called Vanda Station in the Dry Valley area of the Dependency.
The New Zealand Defence Force is tasked with providing support for New Zealand programmes in Antarctica. This is provided by the Royal New Zealand Air Force's C-130J and Boeing 757 aircraft. New Zealand military personnel also fulfill communications, logistics and other duties at Scott Base. Aotearoa, which is a Polar-class Level 6 vessel (Summer/autumn operation in medium first-year ice) capable of berthing at McMurdo Station (ten minutes by jeep from Scott Base) for resupply purposes.In 2020, the Royal New Zealand Navy commissioned a new logistics support ship, HMNZS
About 1.12 million square kilometres of the Ross Sea region have been declared a Marine Protected Area (MPA). In this regard, the Navy is tasked with conducing Southern Ocean patrols during the fishing season to enforce international rules and fight against illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing.
Greenpeace maintained its Antarctic station in the Ross Dependency called World Park Base from 1987 to 1992, which was on Ross Island. As this base was a non-governmental entity, the official policy of the signatory nations of the Antarctic Treaty was not to give any support or assistance to it.
In 1979, an Air New Zealand sightseeing flight crashed into the slopes of Mount Erebus killing all 257 people on board. It was the most deadly air crash in the history of both Antarctica and New Zealand (see Mount Erebus disaster).
In the summer of 1985, when the British non-governmental exploratory vessel Southern Quest sank in the Ross Sea, the United States Coast Guard helicopters rescued the crew, who were taken to McMurdo Station. The British expedition was criticised by scientists in the Antarctic because the rescue and return of the crew disrupted their work.
In 2006, the New Zealand police reported that jurisdictional issues prevented them from issuing warrants for potential American witnesses who were reluctant to testify during the Christchurch Coroner's investigation into the poisoning death of Rodney Marks at the South Pole base.
The history of Antarctica emerges from early Western theories of a vast continent, known as Terra Australis, believed to exist in the far south of the globe. The term Antarctic, referring to the opposite of the Arctic Circle, was coined by Marinus of Tyre in the 2nd century AD.
Ross Island is an island formed by four volcanoes in the Ross Sea near the continent of Antarctica, off the coast of Victoria Land in McMurdo Sound. Ross Island lies within the boundaries of Ross Dependency, an area of Antarctica claimed by New Zealand.
The British Antarctic Territory (BAT) is a sector of Antarctica claimed by the United Kingdom as one of its 14 British Overseas Territories, of which it is by far the largest by area. It comprises the region south of 60°S latitude and between longitudes 20°W and 80°W, forming a wedge shape that extends to the South Pole, overlapped by the Antarctic claims of Argentina and Chile.
McMurdo Station is a United States Antarctic research station on the south tip of Ross Island, which is in the New Zealand-claimed Ross Dependency on the shore of McMurdo Sound in Antarctica. It is operated by the United States through the United States Antarctic Program (USAP), a branch of the National Science Foundation. The station is the largest community in Antarctica, capable of supporting up to 1,200 residents, and serves as one of three year-round United States Antarctic science facilities. All personnel and cargo going to or coming from Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station first pass through McMurdo. By road, McMurdo is 3 kilometres (1.9 mi) from New Zealand's smaller Scott Base.
The Australian Antarctic Territory (AAT) is a part of East Antarctica claimed by Australia as an external territory. It is administered by the Australian Antarctic Division, an agency of the federal Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water. The territory's history dates to a claim on Enderby Land made by the United Kingdom in 1841, which was subsequently expanded and eventually transferred to Australia in 1933. It is the largest territory of Antarctica claimed by any nation by area. In 1961, the Antarctic Treaty came into force. Article 4 deals with territorial claims, and although it does not renounce or diminish any pre-existing claims to sovereignty, it also does not prejudice the position of Contracting Parties in their recognition or non-recognition of territorial sovereignty. As a result, only four other countries — New Zealand, the United Kingdom, France, and Norway — recognise Australia's claim to sovereignty in Antarctica.
Scott Base is a New Zealand Antarctic research station at Pram Point on Ross Island near Mount Erebus in New Zealand's Ross Dependency territorial claim. It was named in honour of Captain Robert Falcon Scott, RN, leader of two British expeditions to the Ross Sea area of Antarctica. The base was set up as support to field research and the centre for research into earth sciences, and now conducts research in many fields, operated by Antarctica New Zealand.
The Dominion of New Zealand was the historical successor to the Colony of New Zealand. It was a constitutional monarchy with a high level of self-government within the British Empire.
World Park Base was a non-governmental year-round Antarctic base located at Cape Evans on Ross Island in the Ross Dependency. The international environmental organization Greenpeace established World Park Base in 1987 in order to press its demand for the Antarctic Treaty nations to declare the continent of Antarctica as a World Park. This would make the entire continent off-limits to commercial exploitation and pollution, and permit only limited scientific research. Greenpeace closed down and completely dismantled the base in 1992.
McMurdo Sound, a sound in Antarctica, is the southernmost navigable body of water in the world, located approximately 1,300 kilometres (810 mi) from the South Pole.
This is a timeline of the history of New Zealand's involvement with Antarctica.
Antarctica New Zealand is an Institute set up by the Government of New Zealand in 1996 to manage its interests in Antarctica and the Ross Sea. As well as providing logistics support to a large scientific programme, it also runs bases such as Scott Base. It has run other bases in the past, such as Vanda Station.
The Realm of New Zealand consists of the entire area in which the monarch of New Zealand functions as head of state. The realm is not a federation; it is a collection of states and territories united under its monarch. New Zealand is an independent and sovereign state. It has one Antarctic territorial claim, one dependent territory (Tokelau), and two associated states. The Realm of New Zealand encompasses the three autonomous jurisdictions of New Zealand, the Cook Islands, and Niue.
The Antarctic Heritage Trust (New Zealand) was founded in 1987 and is the oldest member of the Antarctic Heritage Trust coalition. The AHT-NZ is an independent charitable trust based in Christchurch, New Zealand. It was created to care for sites important to the history of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration located in the Ross Sea region of Antarctica.
Seven sovereign states – Argentina, Australia, Chile, France, New Zealand, Norway, and the United Kingdom – have made eight territorial claims in Antarctica. These countries have tended to place their Antarctic scientific observation and study facilities within their respective claimed territories; however, a number of such facilities are located outside of the area claimed by their respective countries of operation, and countries without claims such as China, India, Italy, Japan, Pakistan, Russia, South Africa (SANAE), Ukraine, and the United States have constructed research facilities within the areas claimed by other countries. There are overlaps among the territories claimed by Argentina, Chile, and the United Kingdom.
Captain Henry Kirkwood was one of the most experienced British ice captains. He was "loaned" from the Royal Navy to command HMNZS Endeavour (1956) on the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition.
Tourism started in Antarctica by the sea in the 1960s. Air overflights started in the 1970s with sightseeing flights by airliners from Australia and New Zealand, and were resumed in the 1990s. The (summer) tour season lasts from November to March. Most of the estimated 14,762 visitors to Antarctica from 1999–2000 were on sea cruises. During the 2009 to 2010 tourist season, over 37,000 people visited Antarctica.
The New Zealand Antarctic Research Programme (NZARP) was a research programme that operated a permanent research facility in Antarctica from 1959 to 1996. It was created by the Geophysics Division of New Zealand's Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR), originally based in Wellington. The programme promoted research in geochemistry, zoology, geology, botany, meteorology, and limnology.
Antarctica sits on every line of longitude because the South Pole is on the continent. Theoretically, Antarctica would be located in all time zones; however, areas south of the Antarctic Circle experience extreme day-night cycles near the times of the June and December solstices, making it difficult to determine which time zone would be appropriate. For practical purposes time zones are usually based on territorial claims; however, many stations use the time of the country that owns them or the time zone of their supply base. In most areas south of 80 degrees latitude, Coordinated Universal Time is assumed despite the limited presence of clocks.
Marion Marie Stringer Darby was a New Zealand marine biologist and teacher. She was the first New Zealand woman to visit the Antarctic mainland. In January 1968, she travelled on the Magga Dan, the first tourist vessel to the Ross Sea, and visited Scott Base with other staff and tourists. She prepared a checklist of sub-Antarctic birds for the information of tourists on board and later wrote an article on summer seabirds to be seen between New Zealand and McMurdo Sound. Mt Darby in Antarctica is named after her.
HMNZS Aotearoa, formerly the Maritime Sustainment Capability project, is an auxiliary ship of the Royal New Zealand Navy. Builder Hyundai Heavy Industries delivered the ship to the Navy in June 2020, and she was commissioned into service on 29 July 2020. Full operational capability was expected to be achieved in 2021. The vessel will serve as a replenishment oiler, and has replaced HMNZS Endeavour, the Navy’s last fleet oiler, which was decommissioned in December 2017.