Scott Base stamp collection: Home on Ross Island

Capture stamps second time lucky
7 September 2023

Scott Base was designed to have a short life, but it didn't take long for the little research station to defy the odds and reshape its destiny.

It was originally designed to support the British Trans-Antarctic (TAE) and International Geophysical Year. More than 60 years later, Scott Base and its collection of Chelsea Cucumber green buildings continue to support Aotearoa New Zealand's scientific endeavours and champion environmental protection.

NZ Post today released this year's Ross Dependency stamp pack, which is an ode to New Zealand's home on the ice. The Scott Base: Home on Ross Island collection features images of the research station in recent years, so Kiwis remember our Antarctic 'stamping ground', as it stands now.

The ageing buildings are reaching the end of their lives. To continue an impressive scientific legacy, a new sustainable base and wind farm will continue to support science for the next 50+ years.

This year is the 100-year anniversary of the Ross Dependency. While buildings come and go, the commitment to protecting Antarctica and Southern Ocean as a place for peace, science and co-operation is long-haul.

Scientific observations have been collected for over a century, and increasingly the science that Antarctica New Zealand supports is looking at how the continent, its environment and ecosystems will cope as the world continues to warm, and what the consequences for New Zealand and the rest of the world will be.

Antarctica New Zealand works with NZ Post each year to create collectable stamps. NZ Post itself has a long association with Scott Base, with Sir Edmund Hillary becoming the first postmaster in 1957. This has continued, with NZ Post generously funding postgraduate scholarships for up-and-coming Antarctic scientists.

The collection's photographs, taken by Scott Base veteran Anthony Powell, show the Ross Island landscape's different moods and light.

The pouwhenua and Scott Base sign created by Ngāi Tahu carvers, other taonga, and the TAE hut will remain iconic features, even as the base around them changes. Other facilities, like the wastewater plant with its incredible view, are heading towards a well-earned retirement.

The deck of the administration building - the setting for many cuppas and conversations - has been captured in sunset hues, while a fourth stamp pays homage to the research station's mountain sentinels, the Terror and Erebus volcanoes.

These scenes hold many cherished memories.

This year's stamps have been designed by Helcia Berryman of Mopsy Creative, and come in denominations of $2, $3.30, $4 and $4.60.