About us

The Antarctic Research Centre is recognised as a world leader in Antarctic studies. Learn more about the Centre and the vital scientific research we facilitate.

ARC 50 years logo banner

The Antarctic Research Centre (ARC) is a centre of research excellence within the Wellington Faculty of Science and reports directly to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor. It is co-located with the School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences, with which it shares academic staff and facilities.

The Centre also contributes to both undergraduate and postgraduate teaching and research supervision in sedimentology, glaciology, paleoclimatology and Antarctic affairs.


In July 2004, the Advisory Board adopted the Mission of the Antarctic Research Centre as to: Research the field of Antarctic earth sciences with a focus on past climate history and processes and their influence on NZ and global climate, and as a consequence:

  • provide University teaching services related to the Centre’s research
  • advise the government on Antarctic issues as requested
  • promote the study of the Antarctic and its value to society.

The ARC seeks to improve understanding of Antarctic climate history and ice sheet processes and their impact on New Zealand and the Earth system. We believe our research provides exciting opportunities for young researchers, a sound basis for international climate change assessment, and will help build a more resilient New Zealand.


The Antarctic Research Centre (ARC) is currently directed by Prof Robert McKay. Since 1957, staff and students from Victoria University of Wellington have gone to the ice each year to carry out field studies for a variety of research projects. Results are reported in student theses and scientific papers. The Centre holds a library of maps, as well as a range of purpose-built equipment for polar marine studies. Such articles include ice and hot water drills, winches, oceanographic instruments and GPS surveying equipment.

Equipment database

Our online equipment database showcases a selection of the specialised equipment and facilities owned and operated by the University. You can explore them using our search tool.

New research proposals

Proposals for new research should be discussed with Centre staff. Field research proposals must be submitted to Antarctica New Zealand. Approval of projects carries with it a commitment from Antarctica New Zealand to provide travel, food and accommodation to and within Antarctica. However, funding for food, accommodation, clothing and transport to and from Christchurch, along with costs of scientific equipment, must still be found from other sources such as Government research funding.