Antarctica and New Zealand share a long and rich history. New Zealanders took part in Antarctic exploration from the mid-19th century, initially as members of other nations' expeditions. The first was probably Tuati, who sailed on a United States-led voyage in 1839-40. Another New Zealander, Alexander Von Tunzelmann, possibly became the first man to set foot on the Antarctic mainland with a Norwegian-led expedition in 1895.
Buildings, gravesites and memorials remind New Zealanders of our historic connections to Antarctica. New Zealand's Antarctic Heritage Trust cares for four early explorers' huts. Scott Base became a permanent research station in 1962, while the United States continues to base its Antarctic operations in New Zealand, near Christchurch International Airport.