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Festivals & Events

Christchurch enjoys a year-round programme of Antarctic-related events and festivals. Each October the Antarctic Season Opening festival explores New Zealand’s gateway role with exhibitions, events, talks and activities, while the regular Antarctic Talk Series is a forum to explore all things Antarctic.

The Antarctic Office’s what’s on guide captures all the Antarctic events taking place in Christchurch and around New Zealand. Keep an eye out for news about the National Antarctic Festival planned for 2019.

Antarctic Season Opening festival

The festival, held each October, explores New Zealand’s gateway role past, present and future through a mix of talks, exhibitions and activities. The festival is tied to the arrival of the US Air Force’s C-17 which transports equipment and personnel – scientists and support staff from the US and New Zealand Antarctic programmes to Antarctica for the summer months. A festival highlight is Antarctic Air Day.

Antarctic Air Day

Antarctic Air Day at Christchurch International Airport, is your chance to get up close and personal with some of the largest aircraft that fly to Antarctica. Meet the crews and step on board a US Air Force C-17 Globemaster and a Royal New Zealand Airforce C-130 Hercules before they head to the ice for the summer season. Learn more about the Antarctic programmes that operate out of Christchurch including the New Zealand, US, Italian and Korean programmes. Information about the day and how to book tickets is posted on The Antarctic Office’s what’s on calendar each September. 

Antarctic Talk Series

Noted on the calendars of many Christchurch-based Antarcticans, the popular Antarctic Talk Series is a forum to explore Antarctic science and topics connected to the Antarctic. Past participants have included filmmaker Anthony Powell on his experiences Living at the Other End of the World.

National Antarctic Festival

Planned for winter 2019, the National Antarctic Festival explorers the importance of Antarctica to the world. An international symposium and arts-related events are in the pipeline. The festival is organised by The Antarctic Office who are exploring ideas including an Antarctic musical, interactive digital installation, a film with live orchestral score and an outdoor dance piece involving an inflatable ice floe!

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