Year 7 student William Newlands was fortunate to be chosen to attend the Young Inspiring Explorers Summit in Christchurch last month. The summit saw 20 Year 7-9 students from across the country spend the weekend with the Antarctic Heritage Trust and Kiwi explorer William Pike.

Throughout the weekend, students challenged themselves and took part in Antarctic learning experiences including:

  • connecting with the US Amundsen-Scott South Pole research station (situated at the South Pole) via a zoom call and speaking with the station’s H&S Officer
  • weathering an Antarctic storm, riding in a Hagglund, and meeting huskies and penguins up close at the International Antarctic Centre
  • visiting Canterbury Museum and hearing tales of the early Antarctic Explorers’ hardships, achievements, and leadership, in the name of science, exploration, and survival
  • hauling an Antarctic sledge, and trying out Antarctic clothing from various era’s of Antarctic exploration
  • exploring Christchurch’s Antarctic connections and gateway status on a walking tour around the central city
  • experiencing a Virtual Reality tour of Sir Edmund Hillary’s Antarctic Hut.

Here are Williams's thoughts on the weekend and his experiences:

The Young Inspiring Explorers Summit was a weekend away in Christchurch with 18 other students from around New Zealand where we learnt about Antarctica and what it’s like to be an explorer.

During the weekend we did many activities including Ride in a Hagglund, watching a 4D movie, meeting Husky dogs and Penguins, going into a blizzard room, visiting the Canterbury Museum and trying on clothes that Ernest Shackelton wore in 1914.

My favourite things were either watching a 4D movie or riding in a Hagglund. The 4D movie was super cool because it was a 3D movie but the seats move and the seat in front of you spits out water. One of the parts in the movie was snowing and you were on a boat. When the boat tipped forward, the seat tipped forward and when seawater came onto the boat, the seat in front of you had a water dispenser and it squirted water in your face. Because it was snowing they had a bubble machine and bubbles float down on top of you. The Hagglund was fun because we went up really steep hills and drove at steep angles. Hagglunds are used in Antarctica for the transportation of people across the ice. They can travel over crevasses up to 2 metres wide.

Before going to the summit I wanted to go to Antarctica but didn’t know how I could get there. After going I now know that lots of different people can go, not just scientists and I realised that it is easier than I thought. Now I really really really want to go to Antarctica.

By William Newlands

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