The Ross Dependency in the Antarctic comprises all the islands and territories south of 60°S latitude between 160°E and 150°W longitude.
From the early 18th century European explorers ventured into the waters of the far south. In 1700 astronomer and explorer Edmond Halley, encountering icebergs, described them as 'great islands of ice of so incredible a height and magnitude'. Among subsequent explorers, James Cook reached the high latitude of 71°S in 1774. From the late 18th century commercial interests took off with the hunting of wildlife. In 1821–1822 alone some 320.000 fur seals were killed; elephant and fur seals were slaughtered almost to extinction. Whales were similarly hunted and fell victim to the improving technology of harpooning.
James Ross, leading a British expedition in the mid-19th century, explored the embayment of what is now known as the Ross Sea. He saw the volcano of Mt Erebus and the ice barrier, collected numerous marine specimens (subsequently lost or damaged), and conducted experiments, advanced for their time, on ocean depths and temperatures.
In the 20th century, Antarctic expeditions, both for polar exploration and scientific purposes, were sponsored by various nations. In 1911, the Norwegian Roald Amundsen, camped on the eastern side of the Ross Sea, reached the South Pole. A month later, Captain Robert Scott's British team reached the Pole from their camp on the western side of the Ross Sea, but perished on the return journey, victims of atrocious weather and faulty planning. Later explorers include the American Richard Byrd, the first to fly over the Pole.
After the Second World War, the International Whaling Commission banned the hunting of certain species of whales, but the numbers of right, humpback, blue and fin whales remain vestigial in the Southern Ocean. Seals are protected under a convention of 1971.
In 1923 steps were taken to assent sovereignty over the Antarctic territory by vesting administration in the New Zealand Government by an order in council under the British Settlements Act of 1887. The New Zealand Antarctic Expedition established Scott Base on Ross Island in 1957; the following year, the Ross Dependency Research Committee was appointed to co-ordinate all New Zealand activity in the dependency.
In 1959, 12 nations, including New Zealand, signed the Antarctic Treaty, which reserves the Antarctic for peaceful purposes. The parties have agreed to freeze territorial claims, conduct scientific research according to accepted international standards, to share research and not to test nuclear or other weapons. By 2008, the treaty had been signed by 46 countries.
In 1995 the government concluded a year-long review of New Zealand's Antarctic structure. Key outcomes included the establishment of a New Zealand Antarctic Institute (Antarctica New Zealand), and the continuation of the Officials’ Antarctic Committee (OAC) with enhanced terms of reference.
The OAC is an interdepartmental committee that contributes policy advice on Antarctic affairs to the government. Antarctica New Zealand is responsible for developing and managing New Zealand's national activities in the Ross Dependency and New Zealand's activities generally in Antarctica, and is a Crown entity managed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Government: dependency of New Zealand
Area: 413.530 km˛
Population: 300 - 1500 (four bases)
Internet TLD: .nz / .aq
Dialling code: +64 2409
Ross Dependency in Wikipedia.
Flag of Ross Dependency in Flags of the World.
The website of the Philatelic Service (
Official website of Antarctica New Zealand.
designer: Cue Design,
printer: Southern Colour Print,
size souv. sheet: 120 x 80 mm
1 $ 4.50 souvenir
sheet, map of
Commonwealth / TRANS-ANTARCTIC EXPEDITION"
$ 2.00 Southern Party Tractor, text "50th Anniversary of The Commonwealth /
$ 2.50 HMNZS Endeavour, penguins, text "50th Anniversary of The Commonwealth /
(cat. Michel block 2/SG MS 109/Yvert BF 1)