December 1, 2019, marks the 60th Anniversary of the signing of the Antarctic Treaty – one of the most effective international agreements.

It ensures Antarctica continues to be a place of peace and international harmony.

New Zealand is proud to have been part of the Antarctic Treaty System since the beginning. The Treaty was signed by New Zealand and 11 other signatories in 1959, and has now grown to a membership of 54 nations.

The Treaty, together with its related instruments, ensures comprehensive environmental protection and designates Antarctica as a natural reserve, devoted to peace and science.

Guided by manaakitanga, New Zealand is committed to the Treaty principles and rules, and to preserving and protecting Antarctica for present and future generations.  

 
International flags flying at Scott Base for the Antarctic Treaty anniversary

International flags flying at Scott Base for the 20th Antarctic Treaty anniversary. Credit: Antarctica NZ


New Zealand’s environment is connected to Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, and our people are connected too – through history, through Scott Base, and through the globally significant science that New Zealanders are doing in this extraordinary part of the world.

New Zealanders are leaders in Antarctic science. The research we do with other nations contributes to our understanding of past, present and future change, and the interaction between global systems and Antarctica.

The level of global cooperation on science, policy and environmental protection under the Antarctic Treaty System is a huge achievement. We look forward to another 60 years – and more – of peace, cooperation and scientific endeavour on this southern continent.

Read MFAT’s Statement of Commitment to Antarctica and the Southern Ocean here.