One of the principal roles of the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) is to support New Zealand’s civilian presence in the Ross Dependency of Antarctica. New Zealand has maintained a right of sovereignty over the Ross Dependency since 1923 and a permanent scientific presence at Scott Base since 1962.

Each year the NZDF provides support to Antarctica New Zealand for the forthcoming Antarctic summer season, extending from October to February. New Zealand, the United States and Italy share resources by operating a Joint Logistics Pool out of Christchurch in support of their respective Antarctic programmes.

The NZDF contributions include air transport of cargo and personnel, search and rescue, air movement support at Harewood terminal in Christchurch and Antarctica, and general logistics support on the ice. When it comes into service, the NZDF’s new ice-strengthened naval tanker will provide further support to activities in Antarctica.