Warren Maxwell’s gig at Scott Base

Warren played a short gig at the bar in New Zealand’s Scott Base in Antarctica as part of our visit there. This is a short sample of what he played. Sean Tracey joined us from McMurdo Station (the American base) to play harmonica.

It was magical moment at the base with most of the personnel crammed into the small bar with guests from the nearby McMudo Station. Huge thanks to Scott Gilbert for bringing over the guitar etc.

Sometimes Antarctica felt like a different planet…

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As this photo of Warren on the sea ice at Cape Evans illustrates, Antarctica can feel unlike anywhere else on the planet at times. When I saw him in all his survival gear casting this massive shadow in the midnight sun I instantly thought of the photos of the astronauts on the moon (thanks NASA for making them public btw). Two harsh environments where man goes to extraordinary lengths to survive – it was about -20˚c when I took this.

The dark “landmass” on the right is in fact an iceberg trapped in the frozen sea-ice.

Kermadecs exhibition closes

After five years, 20 venues around New Zealand and the Pacific and the generation of a huge body of work the Kermadec: Lines in the Ocean exhibition has closed for the last time.

It is no exaggeration to say it has been a life changing experience.

Of course the opportunity to go to such a remote and pristine place was outstanding. Thanks to the NZ Navy for that (and huge up for you work with the earthquake this week too!)

I have meet, worked with and become good friends with some of the top artists, environmentalists and scientists in the country. It has pushed me to new creative heights and opened doors for future projects. We have been interviewed, delivered talks and worked with school groups.

Of course the most significant achievement of the project was to assist in getting the Kermadec region in the public and government spotlight. We are now so close with the Kermadec / Rangitahua Ocean Sanctuary under debate at the moment. We can only hope that common sense prevails and that the truely global issues we face eclipse short term selfish thinking of some and we can hold our heads high knowing that we are taking action for future generations. We need to proudly bear the weight of Kaitiakitanga.

On Sunday a good proportion of the artists got together along with Pātaka Director Reuben Friend and Marama Fox MP at Aratoi in Masterton to discuss the work and Sanctuary before formally closing the exhibition. Photos Bob Zuur.

Thanks to all the organisations that made it possible: PEW, NZ Navy, all the galleries, Insight Creative and Massey University, College of Creative Arts to name a few.

The biggest thanks possible to my fellow artists (Phil Dadson, Bruce Foster, Fiona Hall, Gregory O’Brien, John Pule, John Reynolds, Elizabeth Thomson, Robin White) and the powerhouse Pew team of Amelia Connell and the unstoppable Bronwyn Golder.

Thank you for your friendship and the collective experience.

Happy homemaking on The Ice

A bit of Antarctica fun for a Friday.

One of the first things you do when you visit Scott Base in Antarctica is to go “field training” where you learn survival techniques and spend a night camping in -20ºc.

After two hours driving in the Hagglund tracked vehicle we arrived at our camp site with Mt Erebus standing guard. We slept in tents very similar to those that Scott used and made a cooking area with blocks cut from the snow. The Field Trainers from Antarctica New Zealand were superb. That wonderfully New Zealand combination of friendly and relaxed but totally on to it and experienced.

So join Warren and I on a very quick, lighthearted look at camping in Antarctica.

Weddell Seal in Antarctica

A real highlight of our expedition to Antarctica was camping out on the ice with a team of scientists/divers at Cape Evens. And a highlight of that highlight was when we dropped a GoPro down one of the dive holes to get a glimpse of the world under the 2m thick sea ice.

Little did I know that seconds before I pulled the camera up a Weddell Seal cruised by to check out the rope (this footage has been edited because it sat on the bottom doing very little for a while).

Earlier that day Warren had dropped a hydrophone down the hole to reveal the constant chatter of the seals – wait until you hear what he captured! The background audio on this pales in comparison.

The divers cut a hole through the ice using a “heat drill” and park a modified shipping container over the hole to give them a sheltered work area.

Weddell Seals are now my favourite animal!

Kermadec panel discussion at Aratoi

Please join us for the final venue closing ceremony for Kermadec : Lines in the Ocean
13 November 2016, 2 – 4pm at Aratoi

There will be a panel discussion featuring: Marama Fox MP, Dame Robin White, Gregory O’Brien, Pātaka Director Reuben Friend, Elizabeth Thomson, and Jason O’Hara

Moderated by Shelley Campbell of the Sir Peter Blake Trust.

Aratoi, Wairarapa Museum of Art and History
Cnr Bruce and Dixon St, Masterton .

www.aratoi.org.nz/

aratoi