Emperor penguin encounter Al Chapman



The Environmental Code of Conduct has information on how to maximise your Antarctic experience with minimal environmental impact. More information on New Zealand's Antarctic environmental policy including relevant legislation can be found on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade website.


Antarctica New Zealand aims to develop and maintain high-quality environmental standards and procedures that:

  • Minimise New Zealand's environmental footprint in Antarctica and safeguard – the Antarctic and Southern Ocean environments
  • Are understood, respected and implemented by Antarctica New Zealand – staff, stakeholders and visitors
  • Support New Zealand's national and international obligations in Antarctica
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Antarctic Treaty
The Antarctic Treaty was signed in Washington in 1959 by 12 nations including New Zealand. It arose out of negotiations during the International Geophysical Year (IGY) in 1957-58 following a number of territorial claims made to parts of Antarctica during the first half of the 20th century. It is one of the most effective international agreements with disputes over territory effectively set aside.

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New Zealand Legislation
The Protocol on Environmental Protection to the Antarctic Treaty is implemented in New Zealand law by means of the Antarctica (Environmental Protection) Act 1994.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade is responsible for administering the Act and the Minister of Foreign Affairs makes the final determination on whether an activity may proceed.

Project Four

Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA)
An Environmental Impact Assessment is completed before any activity taking place in Antarctica. It is required under the Environmental Protocol to the Antarctic Treaty and New Zealand’s Antarctica (Environmental Protection) Act 1994.

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Environmental Management and Policy
Antarctica New Zealand is committed to undertaking all our activities in a sustainable manner. The below policy is reviewed annually and communicated to all programme participants and the public.