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A night of family fun and festivity will be the focus of NZ IceFest’s opening where free entertainment will include a science rapper, malamutes (dogs traditionally used with sleds), ‘Antarc-tucker,’ an ice sculptor and fireworks.
The night of festive family fun celebrates the month long festival’s focus on the New Zealand – Antarctic relationship.
Hagley Park ‘Ice Station’ will be lit up from 5pm and the fun will continue when the Mayor formally opens the festival before a show of fireworks in Antarctic inspired colours at 7pm. Anyone who dresses as a penguin skates on the ice shelf themed outdoor rink for free.
Mayor Bob Parker says the new biennial festival is an example of the city’s commitment to putting on events as the city rebuilds.
“We have an enormously rich New Zealand – Antarctic heritage that goes back 100 years. What better way to celebrate this than through NZ IceFest which brings Antarctica to Christchurch in a very creative way. The large scale of this festival is extremely heartening and will provide a welcome opportunity to have some fun at the opening and over the next month.”
Christchurch and New Zealand’s status as a Gateway to Antarctica is invaluable, he says.
“Christchurch has been a Gateway city to the ice for over 100 years from the Heroic exploration era of Scott and Shackleton, to the international scientists who continue to use Christchurch as their point of departure to the ice. We’re excited about New Zealand’s role in Antarctica and what the next 100 years will bring.
“Today, this Gateway status provides enormous benefits to our city and the New Zealand economy through our relationships with the likes of the United States, Korea and Italy who make use of our Port and Airport.”
The Government, through the Major Events Development Fund, has committed $800,000 for NZ IceFest to be held in 2012 and 2014.
New Zealand Major Events Manager, Kylie Archer, says “the event is unique in that it incorporates elements of science, innovation, enterprise and education. Christchurch, and New Zealand as a whole, has a special relationship with Antarctica and it is encouraging to see an event showcase that connection.”
Meanwhile, the family fun continues during the festival’s first weekend kicking off with a true Antarctic superstar Dr Chadden Hunter, producer for the BBC’s Frozen Planet. As well as two evening events on Saturday (15 September) and Sunday (16 September), he will present a special Kids Q&A session on the morning of Sunday 16 September in the UC Geo Dome, The UC Celebrate Series also launches with the Incredible Wildlife and Amazing Islands event on Sunday afternoon.
For more information on the month long festival visit www.nzicefest.co.nz