Icebound: 100 years of Antarctic Discovery

On January 24 1895 a landing was made deep within the Antarctic Circle that heralded a century of Antarctic discovery.

This journey into the past reveals the heroic dramas of the Icebound explorers captured on rare archival film.

Produced by NHNZ

A chance landing on the Antarctic shore a century ago has given rise to the greatest rush for adventure and knowledge the world has ever known.

It has produced an International Treaty of Co-operation unknown anywhere else in human history.

And an unprecedented decision to protect for all time the whales that first drew humans to its shores.

Yet Antarctica remains as haunting and forbidding a place today as it has ever been.

“Icebound” travels the wake of the legion of adventurers, explores, and scientists who have pitted themselves against the challenges of the most extreme environment on Earth in a bid to unlock its secrets.

With rare archival film, new, and spectacular footage it follows Amundsen, Scott, Shackleton, and Byrd – names of legend. Indomitable spirits who mounted the first expeditions to the frozen continent, to claim vast ranges for their countries and win everlasting acclaim.

The age of science followed, hardly less heroically, and found in the ice the hidden answers to many of the world’s mysteries – ancient records of its weather; secret nurseries for strange sea life which even now holds the promise of new and revolutionary medicines.

Science found a warning too in the Antarctic atmosphere where every spring an ominous hole opens in the ozone layer – a potent pointer to our growing influence on the future of the planet.

The warnings come as the continent faces a new age of discovery. Exactly 100 years after the first arrivals there are more tourists than scientists in Antarctica. Fifteen tourist ships now ply its icy waters. Planeloads of visitors regularly land on its shores amidst its fragile ecosystems, its remote colonies of rare penguins and seals.

In this film we explore the conflicts and dilemmas, the heroism and drama of Antarctic discovery alongside living Antarctic legends Sir Vivian Fuchs, leader of the 1957 Commonwealth Trans Antarctic Expedition, and Sir Edmund Hillary, the first to reach the pole since Scott and Amundsen’s historic journeys.

“Icebound” is a compelling and potent celebration of the power and mystery of the frozen continent.

Related Episodes

Greening the concrete jungle

5 mins / 2021

Tears of the albatross

5 mins / 2021

Candid camera

5 mins / 2021