Renowned explorer bound for Antarctic


Oamaru historian and author David Harrowfield is off to Antarctica at the end of this week on what may be one of his last trips.

Dr Harrowfield will be sailing to Antarctica and the Sub-Antarctic Islands for two months on the Spirit of Enderby as a member of staff with Heritage Expeditions.

The explorer will be lecturing to passengers on the history of exploration and conservation in Antarctica and helping out with any other tasks that need performing on two consecutive one-month trips.

The first expedition will be leaving from Bluff this Saturday with about 50 passengers and 40 staff on board.

Apart from lecturing, the historian will be helping out as an interpreter, assisting with landings and also compiling a detailed log of the trip for the passengers to have after the expedition.

“They find it very useful to have all the information.”

Dr Harrowfield had been on the same trip last year and loved the size of the ship – because it was small he got to know people really well, he said.

“We become very much a family on the ship.”

He has had a long-standing interest in Antarctica, which started when he was at Canterbury University.

As a keen mountain climber he was invited to go to Antarctica as a field assistant on an expedition in the early 1970s.

“That really changed my life.”

Since his first trip he had been over 40 times and saw it as an extraordinary privilege to be invited back again this year.

“The place has been very much a magnet to me.”

He is not sure whether he would be going back again after this, as there were so many other people who deserved to go, he said.

“I don’t like to be selfish.”

However, he said he was very grateful for the opportunities he has had over the years – he had met so many amazing people on his voyages, including his partner Zena Keen who helps out at the North Otago Museum.

“It has been the ultimate career.”

Visit for more information on the trip.


PHOTO: Lieutenant Dan Weirenga RNZN

DEEP SOUTH: King penguins, Elephant seals and the Spirit of Enderby at Macquarie Island.

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