Between the Waters, Embassy and Polish Academy of Sciences

Days of Ice Festival held in Christchurch between 29.09-9.10.2022 is a yearly event to celebrate starting of the Antarctic season

This year, Polish Embassy in Wellington, represented by Zofia Halwic (Public & Cultural Diplomacy) and the Ambassador Grzegorz Kowal, took an opportunity to invite Polish polar scientist, prof. Monika A. Kusiak from the Institute of Geophysics Polish Academy of Science. Polish Legacy in NZ Trust ‘Between the Waters’, Dorota Szymańska-Prokop and Tomasz Prokop, hosted M.A. Kusiak.

Prof. M.A. Kusiak, together with Prof. Marek Lewandowski (leader), Dr. Adam Nawrot and Prof. Wojciech Miloch took part in the 4th Polish Antarctic Research Expedition to the Dobrowolski’ Station. The station was not used for last 42 years. The main mission for the team of Polish scientists was to re-activate the base.

With prof. M. A. Kusiak visiting Christchurch, members of local Polonia (Agnieszka Deneka and Anna Gruczyńska) organized a lecture when she gave an open talk entitled: “Bunger Oasis, Mission to reactivate Polish Antarctic Research Station”, which was held in the City Public Library – Turanga. After the talk, Turanga Library (Beata Kumagai) received a book ‘Polarniczki’ (‘Polar Women’) by Dagmara Bożek from Prof. Kusiak.

Although the talk focused on the work which has been done at the Dobrowolski’ base, it also gave an excellent opportunity for international audience to learn about three Polish Polar Stations: Hornsund in Spitsbergen (Arctic), Arctowski in Western Antarctica and Dobrowolski in East Antarctica.

One of the main features of the “Days of Ice” was a day-event, called ‘Women in Polar Science’, where an artist Ira Mitchell presented her set of paintings of 12 international females: ‘Women of the Antarctic: Making the absence visible’. Among them, portrait of M.A. Kusiak was also featured. Special guests, Honorary Consul of RP Winsome Dormer and Mayor of Christchurch, Lianne Dalziel were present.  

During the official meeting of the Ambassadors from various countries, COMNAP organisation and other Antarctic representatives, artist Ira Mitchell presented Polish Ambassador, Grzegorz Kowal with a portrait of Maria Skłodowska-Curie. Prof. M.A. Kusiak gave a short introduction about this famous Polish scientist (twice Noble prize winner in two scientific disciplines: physics and chemistry).

During her short visit, Prof. Kusiak gave two interviews: one for Polish radio program ‘Polish Waves’ – for ethnic station Plains FM 96.9, where she talked about her work in polar regions, cleaning Antarctica and being a female scientist. Another – local press interview, held by Lee Kenny, who is preparing an article about Dobrowolski’ station. 

Participants of the two-day Civic and Business Program, had an opportunity to visit International Antarctic Centre, where Antarctic Heritage Trust presentations were held and guided tour around the Centre was organized. 

Embassy of the Republic of Poland (NZ)

‘Between the Waters’ Polish Legacy in NZ Trust

Polish Association in Christchurch Inc.

Institute of Geophysics Polish Academy of Sciences