Antarctica and New Zealand

Page 4 – Sites of significance

Numerous sites mark the shared history of Antarctica and New Zealand. They range from the places and facilities Antarctic explorers, and members of their expeditions, used while visiting New Zealand, such as quarantine islands, ports and buildings, to the memorials erected to remember them and others who lost their lives in the Antarctic.

Go to our map to locate these sites of significance or read more below.

NZ Quarantine islands used by Antarctic expeditions

Quail Island, an 81-hectare island about 3 km from the port of Lyttelton, was used as an animal quarantine station for several Antarctic expeditions between 1901 and 1929. Quarantine Island, a 15-hectare island 2 km from Port Chalmers, was used as a rest stop for dogs destined for Richard Byrd's first Antarctic expedition. Read more about the quarantined animals

NZ ports used by Antarctic expeditions

Three New Zealand ports feature prominently in the history of Antarctic expeditions. The Port of Lyttelton was the main New Zealand base for expeditions, but Port Chalmers and Wellington were also used for this purpose; all were the sites of numerous other brief visits. Of the three, Port Chalmers can lay claim to the earliest visit from an Antarctic expedition. Read more about the use of NZ ports by Antarctic expeditions

Memorials with NZ-Antarctic connections

A number of memorials throughout New Zealand commemorate people or events with strong connections to the Antarctic. These include statues or busts of explorers and others who lost their lives in the Antarctic, and plaques at the sites from which expeditions left and returned.

Some people are commemorated in more than one memorial. Read more about the multiple memorials to Robert Falcon Scott, Richard E Byrd and those who lost their lives in the Erebus disaster.

Buildings with NZ-Antarctic connections

Many of the buildings associated with New Zealand's Antarctic story are in the Ross Sea region, including the huts left behind by the first explorers and New Zealand's own Scott Base. Still more are situated within New Zealand, including Sir Joseph Kinsey's cottage, which has been relocated to Ferrymead Heritage Park, and a night watchman's shed still on its original site in Oamaru.

How to cite this page

'Sites of significance', URL:, (Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated 30-Sep-2021