New priorities approved for Antarctic and Southern Ocean research

Scott Base from above by Antz Powell
17 December 2021

Aotearoa New Zealand’s plan for research in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean over the next decade has been approved by Cabinet, following public consultation.

The Antarctic Research Directions and Priorities 2021-2030 reaffirms Aotearoa New Zealand’s focus on impactful science that helps understand the role of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean in global systems, and recognises and reflects the value of mātauranga Māori.

Priority areas for research are sea level rise, ice-ocean-atmosphere connections, ecosystem dynamics, and environmental protection.

For more than 60 years, Aotearoa New Zealand researchers have made internationally recognised contributions to Antarctic research, and the enduring priorities that underpin the research have not changed: New Zealand continues to prioritise protecting Antarctica and the Southern Ocean; valuing healthy and productive ecosystems; understanding how the global systems interact; and commiting to protect biodiversity.

The Antarctic Research Directions and Priorities were prepared jointly by the Antarctic Science Priorities Working Group, an inter-agency group including the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Antarctica New Zealand, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, the Department of Conservation, and the Ministry for Primary Industries.

Earlier in 2021, the Government invested significantly in the redevelopment of Scott Base, to ensure it remains a place where scientists can conduct world-leading science safely and effectively. The funding includes capital investment of $306 million, and project operating costs of $38 million. Scott Base is critical to supporting Aotearoa New Zealand’s science programme, and the redevelopment supports these Antarctic Research Directions and Priorities, and New Zealand’s enduring interests in Antarctica and the Southern Ocean.

For further information, please contact