20 Jan 2013

Key attends unveiling of Ngai Tahu pole on The Ice

4:36 pm on 20 January 2013

New Zealand's base in Antarctica has been given a new sign and carved wooden pole by Ngai Tahu to mark its 56th anniversary.

A ceremony of Maori songs and prayers was held at Scott Base Sunday morning to unveil the new landmarks, in a temperature of minus-7 degrees Celcius and amid strong wind and dustings of snow.

Prime Minister John Key attended the ceremony.

Ngai Tahu leader Sir Mark Solomon said the two-metre pou (carved pole) was a symbol of long-held Maori connection with the ice, with stories of a land of white dating back to the 1700s.

The tribe gifted a new totara Scott Base sign and a woven art work recognising those who have accomplished great things in Antarctica, and remembering those who died there.