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Proud achievement . . . Antarctic historian and author David Harrowfield has been made a life member of the New Zealand Antarctic Society. PHOTO: DANIEL BIRCHFIELD

David Harrowfield has dedicated several decades of his life to the world’s southernmost continent, an effort which has been recognised by the New Zealand Antarctic Society.

At the society’s mid-winter dinner in Christchurch recently, Dr Harrowfield was made a life member of the society after his 40 years’ work for the group on various projects.

He joined the society in 1974 before his first trip to the Antarctic in 1974-75. He was a hut caretaker for the historic huts on Ross Island in 1977-78, and was part of the Cape Adare Expedition of 1981-82.

He was awarded the Conservation Trophy in 1987 for inventory and archaeological work on the historic huts of the Ross Sea, and worked on projects that involved the society at Canterbury Museum and Ferrymead Heritage Park in Christchurch.

He has also written about 20 articles and papers for the society’s quarterly magazine, Antarctic, and has had two books – Scott Base Antarctica (1997) and Vanda Station: History of an Antarctic Outpost (1999) – published by the society.

Dr Harrowfield said the news of his life membership came as a “pleasant surprise”.

“It was quite a shock to get the phone call from the president of the society in Wellington saying I was being made a life member. I said straight away I still had another 50 years of work to do.

“It was quite a surprise and it was humbling. I had no idea that would happen.”

When he joined the society, he was a member of the now-defunct Dunedin branch. He is now part of the Christchurch branch.

He said given Dunedin’s links to the Antarctic, he was keen to see the branch reinstated, and had even offered to operate any new branch from Oamaru.

The society, formed in 1933, aims to bring together people interested in the Antarctic to share knowledge in all fields of science, exploration, discovery and mapping of the Antarctic, to seek protection of the Antarctic environment and to promote New Zealand’s interests in the Antarctic.

Meanwhile, Dr Harrowfield has just published his most recent book in digital form.

The book, New Zealand and the Antarctic: January 2008 – January 2017, is about New Zealand activities in the Antarctic over the past decade and is an update of his book, Call of the Ice (2007), that commemorated New Zealand’s first 50 years since the establishment of Scott Base.

Much of the book is dedicated to major events in the field of science that have taken place since 2007, as well as developments at Scott Base and what the future holds for New Zealand’s Antarctic programme.

Dr Harrowfield said the bulk of the book was written using resources such as Antarctic New Zealand’s annual reports, along with other records that contained comprehensive scientific updates.

There are also sections dedicated to those who have been honoured for their work with New Zealand’s Antarctic programme over the past 10 years, which Dr Harrowfield believed was important to include.