Join our Special Guests
Much like Shackleton’s historic Endurance and Quest expeditions, our ninth Inspiring Explorers Expedition™ maintains a strong New Zealand connection. We are delighted that former New Zealand Prime Minister, Rt Hon Helen Clark, Trust Emeritus Executive Director, Nigel Watson, and MetService’s Peter Fisher will all be joining us as esteemed special guests on this remarkable journey. Sharing their substantial experiences and knowledge around exploration, Antarctic polar history, meteorology, and leadership, the Inspiring Explorers™ team will have the privilege of engaging with these distinguished guests throughout the expedition.
Inspiring Explorers Expedition™ 2015 – Crossing South Georgia ©Tom MacTavish / AHT
Rt Hon Helen Clark ONZ
Helen Clark’s involvement with the Trust began in the early 2000s, while serving as Prime Minister of New Zealand and also as Minister of Arts, Culture and Heritage. Helen supported the Trust as we set about conceiving, launching and fundraising an international campaign to safeguard the historic explorer bases in the Trust’s care. She advocated for our mission at the most senior levels internationally and launched our first Conservation Plan for Sir Ernest Shackleton’s Hut, which laid the foundation for the Ross Sea Heritage Restoration Project.
On the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Scott Base, in her capacity as Prime Minister of New Zealand, Helen visited Antarctica with Sir Edmund Hillary (then a Trust Patron). There she launched our Conservation Ambassador Programme with Sir Ed and the inaugural Ambassador James Blake, a fellow special guest on this expedition.
Helen Clark ©Helen Clark
Nigel Watson NZAM
Trust Emeritus Executive Director Nigel Watson has dedicated his career to the polar regions. He is the former Executive Director of Antarctic Heritage Trust which he led for 23 years. He conceived the Ross Sea Heritage Restoration Project, the world’s largest cold-climate heritage conservation project, raised millions for Antarctic Heritage Trust’s mission and led expeditions to Antarctica over two decades.
An authority on Antarctic history, he has authored two acclaimed books: Hillary’s Antarctica: Adventure, Exploration & Establishing Scott Base and Still Life: Inside the Historic Huts of Scott and Shackleton.
Nigel initiated and has led the Trust’s Inspiring Explorers™ programme, skiing Shackleton’s route across South Georgia Island to mark the centenary of the original crossing, traversing the Greenland Ice Cap to honour Fridtjof Nansen’s legacy and climbing Mount Scott in Antarctica. On his final expedition as Trust Executive Director, he led our most recent Inspiring Explorers Expedition™ to the South Pole, with the group reaching the South Pole in January 2023.
In recognition of his services to Antarctica and heritage preservation, Nigel was awarded the New Zealand Antarctic Medal in the 2023 New Year Honours list.
Nigel Watson ©AHT
Peter has a long interest in the weather and as a ten-year-old, he would collate statistics from the newspaper for his own climate records. It was no surprise that he joined the Meteorological Service of New Zealand and commenced training as a weather observer. That was in 1982.
Since then, Peter has worked at various locations around New Zealand, where he has carried out routine surface and upper air meteorological observations and weather briefings. A highlight of this period was living on remote sub-Antarctic Campbell Island for a year, where he carried out meteorological duties as part of a small scientific team based there. Shortly afterward, Peter managed a weather programme on an even smaller sub-tropical island, an active volcano, for a year. The island sat within the tropical cyclone belt and regularly experienced significant earthquakes.
Back on mainland New Zealand, Peter went on to become a Presentation Forecaster at MetService, where his role included adding value to guidance forecast information. It was here he found his love of working with customers to develop new and innovative weather solutions and joined the MetService commercial team as a Business Development Manager.
Peter Fisher ©Peter Fisher