One hundred years after the return of SS Terra Nova to Lyttelton from the Antarctic, a set of skis belonging to explorer Edward Atkinson has been returned to New Zealand's Antarctic Heritage Trust.
Atkinson assumed leadership of Captain Scott's last expedition and led the party that found the tent containing the bodies of Captain Scott, Edward Wilson and Henry Bowers.
On February 12, 1913, the SS Terra Nova entered Lyttelton harbour with its flag at half mast to a country and the world in mourning.
Two days earlier the ship had moored off Oamaru Harbour where Atkinson and the ship's captain had gone ashore during the night and wired the news of the deaths of Scott and the polar party to the expedition's agent.
The wooden skis, etched with Atkinson's initials, were retrieved from a pile of abandoned equipment at Scott's Cape Evans hut in 1948 by a navy helicopter pilot Lloyd Tracy from USS Edisto.
Mr Tracy's son, Dick Tracy, said it was "with great joy" that after many years the skis would be returned to Cape Evans where his father recovered them.
The work of returning the skis to Antarctica will be done by the Antarctic Heritage Trust.
Trust executive director Nigel Watson said "the provenance of the skis is beyond doubt".
"These are a most poignant link to Captain Scott's last expedition," he said. "It seems like fate that these have been returned to Christchurch, 100 years to the day Atkinson returned from the Antarctic with details of the loss of the polar party."