New Zealand Antarctic Society 50th anniversary

New Zealand Antarctic Society 50th anniversary

A special stamp issue commemorating the 50th anniversary of the New Zealand Antarctic Society in 1983.

New Zealand Antarctic Society

The New Zealand Antarctic Society (NZAS) was established in 1933 with the aim of bringing together people interested in Antarctica. It continues along much the same lines today.

The inaugural meeting of the Society on 2 November 1933 was organised by Arthur Leigh Hunt, a man with a strong personal interest in the Antarctic stemming from his friendships with American explorer and aviator Richard E. Byrd and Australian explorer and geologist Douglas Mawson. First on the list of Hunt's objectives for such a society was to:

Group together all persons interested in expeditions, history, oceanography, geology, meteorology and natural history of Antarctica, sub-Antarctic islands and seas.

Since this first meeting the Society has been involved in a wide range of Antarctic activities. It actively lobbied the government to commit resources to the Antarctic prior to the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1955-58) and International Geophysical Year (1957-58), and was subsequently well represented on the Committee that coordinated New Zealand's contribution during this period. It also played a significant role in the survival of huts left behind by the first explorers of the Ross Sea region of Antarctica.

Today the Society has active branches in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, and a large international membership. Its aim is little altered from that Hunt outlined at the inaugural meeting:

The Society brings together people interested in Antarctica, to share knowledge in the fields of all sciences, exploration, discovery and mapping of Antarctica, to seek protection of the Antarctic environment, and to promote New Zealand's interests in Antarctica.

It continues to serve its membership with regular lectures, commemorative activities and a quarterly journal (Antarctic).

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