Ryman Community News

Technology & Entertainment Virtual Event

Chilly stories from the comfort of home

Written by Alan Wood
on November 10, 2021

Ryman residents were taken on whirlwind historical tour Earth’s southernmost continent, Antarctica, courtesy of a Zoom session with explorer, author and advocate Nigel Watson.

Nigel, who has visited Scott Base and the chilly surrounds dozens of times, took questions about the conservation and heritage work of the Antarctic Heritage Trust (AHT) at the end of a presentation to residents, some of whom remain in lockdown, due to COVID precautions.

Ryman Healthcare has hosted a series of entertainers and public speakers, via Zoom from the likes of Suzanne Paul to Shaun Wallace (of The Chase), Peta Mathias and Nigel Latta during the lockdown period.

Ryman has also sponsored some of the AHT’s work including a virtual reality tour of the inside of Scott Base’s oldest building, a hut built by Sir Edmund Hillary and his team in the late 1950s.

Residents of some of Ryman’s New Zealand villages have already experienced the VR experience which shows the hut in a preserved state, reflecting Sir Ed’s time at Scott Base and on the continent.

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Nigel mentioned the fact that Hillary made a dash to the South Pole on modified Ferguson farm tractors, with his team beating other members of the wider trans-Antarctic expedition associated with Sir Vivan Fuchs. Controversy followed, as the initial plan was for Hillary’s team to lay fuel and food depots for Fuchs to use.

Nigel, the Executive Director of the AHT, also mentioned the earlier explorers including Road Amundsen, Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton and the remains of some of the heritage sites left by these and other explorers. The trust helps care for five of these sites, including a lesser know one associated with Carsten Borhgrevink’s 1989-1900 expedition.

Hillary’s hut was Scott Base’s first building and was constructed by a 23-strong team led by Sir Ed to support the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition and International Geophysical Year, which as a project ran from July 1957 to December 1958.

Nigel mentioned the fact that Hillary made a dash to the South Pole on modified Ferguson farm tractors, with his team beating other members of the wider trans-Antarctic expedition associated with Sir Vivan Fuchs. Controversy followed, as the initial plan was for Hillary’s team to lay fuel and food depots for Fuchs to use.

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Nigel also mentioned the earlier explorers including Road Amundsen, Robert Falcon Scott and Ernest Shackleton and the remains of some of the heritage sites left by these and other explorers. The trust helps care for five of these sites, including a lesser know one associated with Carsten Borhgrevink’s 1989-1900 expedition.

Hillary’s hut was Scott Base’s first building and was constructed by a 23-strong team led by Sir Ed to support the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition and International Geophysical Year, which as a project ran from July 1957 to December 1958.

One of the Ryman residents, Jenny, on the Zoom call asked Nigel if he had noted evidence of climate change in the Antarctic. He answered yes, though noting that different parts of the 14 million square metre continent – 52 times the size of New Zealand – showed different things. “The evidence of that is different in different parts… but particularly around the ice shelves that are these large floating masses of ice that protrude from the land. They are of major concern currently,” Nigel said.

The charity-based AHT charity has been around since 1987, and has a vision of inspiring explorers, he added.

About Ryman Healthcare:

Ryman was founded in 1984 and has become one of New Zealand’s largest listed companies. The company owns and operates 45 retirement villages in New Zealand and Australia which are home to more than 13,200 residents and the company employs 6,700 team members.

Media advisory: For further information, photos, interviews or comment please contact Corporate Affairs Manager David King on 03 366 4069 or 021 499 602 or Communications Advisor Maryvonne Gray on 027 552 0767.

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