Operation Endurance – Antipodes Islands

HMNZS Canterbury

From February – April 2016 the NZ Defence Force will support the Department of Conservation (DOC) with work in the NZ Subantarctics; this includes work on Campbell Island and the Antipodes Islands. Two teams will travel on the HMNZS Canterbury to the Subantarctics in February, firstly dropping off a team on Campbell then moving onto the Antipodes Islands. In addition to the NZ Navy, the NZ Air Force and NZ Army will be on board the HMNZS Canterbury and will provide assistance and support through the use of the Air Force helicopter the Seasprite and Army personnel for coordinating and moving loads from the vessel to the island. There will be 75 loads in total weighing approximately 27 tonne; loads will be flown by helicopter from the vessel to the island. Loads include a small digger, two power barrows, 15 tonne of timber, and a water tank, a fire escape window for the hut, tools, fuel and food plus the helicopter hangar.

A team of 11 people (DOC staff, contractors and volunteers) will spend 18 days working on the Antipodes Islands in preparation for the mouse eradication start date which is June 2016. Work will involve levelling a site for the heli-platform, construct the helicopter platform, testing the helicopter hangar on heli-platform, complete hut repairs, and prepare sites for a second helicopter landing site and temporary accommodation shelters. In addition monitoring staff will undertake mouse monitoring on the unvisited offshore islands and trial mouse monitoring methodology on the main island.

HMNZS Wellington before leaving for Antipodes 2014

Navy handling rough seas - Antipodes 2014

Navy handling rough seas – Antipodes 2014

Moving loads from the vessel to the main Antipodes Islands will be dependant on weather and sea conditions, and has the potential to take a long time. Work has been prioritised in order to make the best out of this fantastic opportunity to work on Antipodes Island. Here’s hoping the weather behaves itself!

The NZ Defence Force helped the Million Dollar Mouse project on a previous work trip to the Antipodes in 2014.

You can read updates of Operation Endurance posted from the team during this work trip on this website.

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