T.A.E - The Last Great Journey of Antarctic Exploration ‘Before the Tractors Rolled'
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree LevelPostgraduate Certificate
Degree NamePostgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies
“ It may have been about our year 750 that the astonishing Hui-te-Rangiora, in his canoe Te Iwi-o-Atea, sailed from Rarotonga on a voyage of wonders in that direction (South): he saw the bare white rocks that towered into the sky from out the monstrous seas, the long tresses of the woman that dwelt therein, which waved about under the waters and on their surface, the frozen sea covered with pia or arrowroot, the deceitful animal that dived to great depths – ‘a foggy, misty dark place not shone on by the sun’. Icebergs, the fifty foot long leaves of the bull-kelp, the walrus or sea-elephant, the snowy ice fields of a clime very different from Hui-teRangiora’s own warm islands – all these he had seen”1 Over the past two years as I read more about the Antarctic, I have become interested in the decade of the 1950’s and in the Trans-Antarctic Expedition in particular. I consider the Expedition to have been the single event that caused New Zealand to move from disinterested nation, reluctantly carrying a responsibility given to it by its Commonwealth elder, to become a major player in the Antarctic today. In reading the various accounts of the Expedition it appeared to me that in no one place did I find all the interesting and often important pieces of the story. This paper is my attempt to bring those pieces together and to shed a bit more light on one of the great achievements of the twentieth century.