Oamaru’s Antarctic explorer has a new bond with the frozen continent.
Dr David Harrowfield, who has ventured to the world’s southernmost continent nearly 50 times, has received the rare honour of having a landmark named after him.
The United States Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names has officially named a hill in the Antarctic after the Oamaru historian and geographer.
Harrowfield Hill is located on Inexpressible Island in Terra Nova Bay, just off the Antarctic coast.
Dr Harrowfield was shocked when he first learned the news.
“It was actually a matter of complete surprise.”
He believed there were others more deserving of the honour.
“There’s a lot of people who I feel are even more entitled to have this sort of thing.”
Despite being humbled by the honour, Dr Harrowfield said it was a significant moment for Antarctic lovers in New Zealand.
“It’s very nice for New Zealand, it’s very nice for Heritage Expeditions, and it’s also nice for my family.”
Throughout his years of travelling to the Antarctic, he has travelled to Inexpressible Island four times.
The island is most famous for housing survivors from the ill-fated Terra Nova Expedition led by Robert Falcon Scott in 1912.
Most of the crew members who were involved died during the expedition. However, six members of the party survived the polar winter for more than 200 days by staying in a small ice cave near what is now Harrowfield Hill.
Each time he visited the island, Dr Harrowfield learned something new.
On his last expedition to the island in 2016, he discovered three preserved seal skulls that had been cracked open by survivors of the Terra Nova Expedition who used the seal brains as a food source a century ago.
“To see those there and to have read the history . . . it came back to me – what an incredible story of survival.”
An enduring memory for Dr Harrowfield was escorting a blind man and his wife for a tour around the island.