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Gateway to Antarctica

Ōtautahi Christchurch is proud to be an Antarctic Gateway City, one of only five in the world.

The role of the Christchurch Antarctic Office is to co-ordinate the opportunities presented by Christchurch’s Antarctic Gateway status and to explore our historic and modern connections with the icy continent.

As Sir Edmund Hillary noted, “much of the history of Antarctic exploration has flowed through Christchurch,” starting over 100 years ago with the “Heroic Era” explorations of Captain Robert Falcon Scott and Sir Ernest Shackleton, who both used Christchurch as a basecamp for their Antarctic expeditions.

Christchurch Antarctic Office & Connections

Christchurch Antarctic Office

Christchurch’s official city hub to connect and excite people and organisations around the city’s unique Antarctic heritage and future opportunities across community, business, tourism, science and education.
Antarctic Pressure Ridges Hike

International Programmes

Christchurch, as New Zealand’s Antarctic gateway city, hosts a number of international partners in addition to New Zealand’s own Antarctic government agency, Antarctica New Zealand.
Antarctic Field Training

Gateway Antarctica, University of Canterbury

Gateway Antarctica, University of Canterbury, is a focal point for Antarctic study, attracting national and international participation in collaborative research, analysis, learning and networking.
Antarctic Ahty Alexander Hillary Kayak Iceberg

Antarctic Heritage Trust

Through its mission to conserve, share and encourage the spirit of exploration the Trust cares for the remarkable expedition bases of early Antarctic explorers including, Carsten Borchgrevink, Captain Robert Falcon Scott, Sir Ernest Shackleton and Sir Edmund Hillary. It shares the legacy of exploration through outreach programmes and encourages the spirit of exploration through expeditions to engage and inspire a new generation.
Antarctic COMNAP Andrea Colombo

The Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs (COMNAP)

The city, through the University of Canterbury, is proud to host the Council of Managers of National Antarctic Programs (COMNAP) Secretariat.  The COMNAP Secretariat has been located in Christchurch since 2009. COMNAP is the international association, formed in 1988, which brings together its 30 Members, who are the National Antarctic Programs. National Antarctic Programs are those organizations that have responsibility for delivering and supporting scientific research in the Antarctic Treaty Area on behalf of their respective governments and in the spirit of the Antarctic Treaty​. COMNAP’s purpose is to develop and promote best practice in managing the support of scientific research in Antarctica.

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Connecting the Canterbury Economy with Antarctica

Christchurch Antarctic Network

Christchurch Antarctic Network

A unique platform for Christchurch businesses

Christchurch Antarctic Network

The Christchurch Antarctic Network provides a unique platform for Christchurch businesses to tell their Antarctic stories of product and service delivery and business innovation to International Antarctic Programmes.

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  • It is in our nature to explore, to reach out into the unknown. The only true failure would be not to explore at all.
    Sir Ernest Shackleton

Experience the Gateway

Antarctic Centre Gallery

Experience Antarctica in Christchurch

Christchurch is home to a number of world-class Antarctic landmarks and attractions celebrating Christchurch's connections to the frozen continent.
Antarctic felt boots from 1911 on display at the Breaking the Ice exhibition at Canterbury Museum.

Christchurch's Antarctic Heritage

Ōtautahi Christchurch served as a base for numerous famous Antarctic expeditions, including those of Ernest Shackleton and Robert Falcon Scott.