Tui or Parson Bird Prosthemadera Novae Zealandiae. From: 'A history of the birds of New Zealand' by Walter Lawry Buller | OUR Heritage

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Hellbent for the Pole: An insider’s account of the ‘race to the South Pole’ 1957-58





Central G850 1955 T72 MC19



Auckland: Random House (with kind permission)


The TAE was the first overland trip to the South Pole since Amundsen and Scott’s expeditions of the early 20th century. British scientist and explorer, Vivian Fuchs (d. 1999) intended to cross the polar cap in a hundred days. Edmund Hillary, fresh from the success of Everest in 1953, headed the Ross Sea Support Team. Hillary’s men set up Scott Base and using Ferguson tractors, airplanes and dogs they laid resupply depots for Fuchs and his men. In the end, Fuchs was weeks late and it would have been unsustainable for Hillary and his team to wait for him at Depot 700 as intended. So, ignoring telegrams from the Expedition Committee, Hillary pushed on to the Pole and reached it before Fuchs. This incident caused a bit of a ‘kerfuffle’.


Geoffrey Lee Martin, “Hellbent for the Pole: An insider’s account of the ‘race to the South Pole’ 1957-58,” | OUR Heritage, accessed May 21, 2022,

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