Ross Dependency: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Ross Dependency
Major bases Scott Base (NZ)
McMurdo Station (USA)
Government None
New Zealand dependency
 -  British claim transferred to New Zealand 1923 
 -  Sector span 160°E - 150° W 
 -  Total 450,000 km2 
174,000 sq mi 
 -  Seasonal estimate 10 to 801
200 to 1,0002
85 to 2003
0 to 904 
Currency New Zealand dollar (NZD)
Time zone NZST (UTC+12)
 -  Summer (DST) NZDT (UTC+13)
(Sep to Apr)
Internet TLD .nz, .aq
Calling code 64 2409
1 Scott Base
2 McMurdo Station
3 Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station
4 Zucchelli Station

The Ross Dependency comprises an area of Antarctica (and other land masses in the Southern Ocean) claimed by New Zealand. It is defined by a sector originating at the South Pole, passing along longitudes 160° east to 150° west, and terminating at latitude 60° south. It is nearly identical in size to Sweden and constitutes the bulk of the Realm of New Zealand. The Dependency takes its name from Sir James Clark Ross, who discovered the Ross Sea.

The Dependency includes part of Victoria Land, and most of the Ross Ice Shelf. Ross Island, Balleny Islands and the small Scott Island also form part of the Dependency, as does the ice-covered Roosevelt Island.



The scientific bases of Scott Base (New Zealand) and McMurdo Station (USA) currently form the only permanently occupied human habitations in the area – unless one includes the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station at the very edge of the territory. The Dependency has a snow runway at Williams Field, and depending on conditions and time of year, two Ice Runways. This guarantees accessibility by wheeled and ski equipped aircraft year round.

Italy conducts scientific research each summer at their Zucchelli Station in Terra Nova Bay, and from 1969 to 1995 New Zealand operated a summer-only base called Vanda Station in the Dry Valley area of the dependency.

Greenpeace maintained its own Antarctic station in the Ross Dependency called World Park Base from 1987 to 1992, which was on Ross Island. As this base was a non-governmental entity, the official policy of the signatory nations of the Antarctic Treaty was not to give any support or assistance to it.


James Ross claimed Victoria Land and the Ross Sea for Britain when he discovered them in 1841. The British government defined its current borders in 1923 and entrusted it to the administration of New Zealand:

From and after the publication of this Order in the Government Gazette of the Dominion of New Zealand[1] that part of His Majesty's Dominions in the Antarctic Seas, which comprises all the islands and territories between the 160th degree of East Longitude and the 150th degree of West Longitude which are situated south of the 60th degree of South Latitude shall be named the Ross Dependency.
From and after such publication as aforesaid the Governor-General and Commander-in-Chief of the Dominion of New Zealand for the time being (hereinafter called the Governor) shall be the Governor of the Ross Dependency; and all the powers and authorities which by this Order are given and granted to the Governor for the time being of the Ross Dependency are hereby vested in him.[2]

Under the provisions of the Antarctic Treaty System, to which New Zealand has been a signatory since its inception in 1960, no nation may make efforts to enforce sovereignty or territorial claims over the Antarctic continent proper. The actual amount of land mass claimed is not large; most of the area defined as being in the Ross Dependency is either in the Ross Sea or the Antarctic Ocean. It is the second-smallest of the claims which were made prior to the implementation of the Antarctic Treaty System and the suspension of all territorial claims to Antarctica proper.

The Governor-General of New Zealand is also the Governor of Ross Dependency[3]. Officers of the Government of the Ross Dependency are annually appointed to run the Dependency. The New Zealand Geographic Board has named many features within the Dependency.

In the late 1980s, when the British non-governmental exploratory vessel Southern Quest sank in the Ross Sea, United States Coast Guard helicopters rescued the crew, who were taken to McMurdo Station. The expedition was criticised by scientists in the Antarctic because the rescue and return of the crew disrupted their work.[4]

In 2006, the New Zealand police reported that jurisdictional issues prevented them issuing warrants for potential American witnesses who were reluctant to testify during the Christchurch Coroner's investigation into the poisoning death of Rodney Marks at the South Pole base.[5][6]

Postage stamps


Ross Dependency (unofficial) flag designed by James Dignan

Currently, only the New Zealand national flag serves in an official capacity in the Ross Dependency. The only other 'official' flag seen in photographs was the New Zealand Post flag to denote Scott Base's post office.


  1. ^ Publicate: August 16, 1923
  2. ^ Order in Council Under the British Settlements Act, 1887 (50 & 51 Vict c 54), Providing for the Government of the Ross Dependency.
  3. ^ New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  4. ^ "Robert Swan Expedition 1984-85". Glasgow Digital Library. Retrieved 2007-03-25.  
  5. ^ Hotere, Andrea. "South Pole death file still open". Sunday Star Times, December 17, 2006. Retrieved on December 19, 2006.
  6. ^ Deutsche Presse-Agentur. "Death of Australian astrophysicist an Antarctic whodunnit"., December 14, 2006. Retrieved on December 19, 2006.

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
(Redirected to Ross Sea article)

From Wikitravel

Antarctica : Ross Sea
Mount Erebus on Ross Island, with Mount Terror! to the right
Mount Erebus on Ross Island, with Mount Terror! to the right

The Ross Sea is a region of Antarctica that lies south of Australia and New Zealand. Mostly ice covered, the land areas around the sea are home to several research bases and countless numbers of seals and penguins.


New Zealand claims a sector of Antarctica, including Ross Island, home to McMurdo Station and Scott Base as well as three historic wooden huts (at Hut Point, Cape Evans and Cape Royds as well as a stone hut at Cape Crozier). Claims such as this one are held in abeyance under the terms of the Antarctic Treaty, but official Ross Dependency stamps are still issued and sold at Scott Base and can be used as valid postage back to the rest of the world.

Get in

Travel to the Ross Sea is normally done through a larger travel company that charters an ice breaker and carries passengers south from New Zealand. Researchers may arrive in the Ross Sea either by military vessel or by plane.

Individual, non-governmental visitors can contact the Antarctic Policy Unit, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Private Bag 18901, Wellington. Phone: +64 4 439 8000 Fax: +64 4 439 8103 [1]

By air

Williams Field is an ice runway that is normally open to ski equipped aircraft during the Antarctic summer months, subject to suitable weather conditions. Flights to the Ice depart from Christchurch International Airport in New Zealand and generally involve an 8 hour flight in a military aircraft's cargo hold, as cargo.

By boat

There are only a very few ships that travel to the Ross Sea area of Antarctica.

  • Polar Cruises, [2]. A small company offering trips on most of the ships cruising Antarctica. They have been on all the ships and traveled to the Ross Sea area. Great insights into Antarctica cruises and travel to this very unique area.
  • Geographic Expeditions, [3]. Among GeoEx's popular Antarctica adventure trips is an expedition to the Ross Sea and McMurdo Sound.
  • Mount Erebus. The southernmost active volcano in the world at 3795 meters. Climbable (when not erupting) in the summer. The mountain was named after its discoverer's ship, which in turn was named after the Greek god Erebus, son of Chaos.  edit
  • Mount Kirkpatrick. Best climbed in April. The highest of Antarctica's mountains is terribly hard to reach, but is climbable on extremely expensive expeditions. 4528m.  edit

Stay safe

There are several countries that administer portions of the Ross Sea, and each country's laws may apply based on the traveler's citizenship and location. In all cases, travelers must follow the rules set forth in the Antarctic Treaty and, if traveling with an International Association of Antarctic Tour Operators (IATO) sponsored group, all IATO rules.

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