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Ross Dependency New Zealand

Antarctica Explanation :: --Antarctica History||Antarctica Geography||Antarctica Administration||

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The Ross Dependency is a region of Antarctica defined by a sector originating at the South Pole, passing along longitudes 160° east to 150° west, and terminating at latitude 60° south. New Zealand's claim to the region was formalized in 1923, when the Governor-General of New Zealand was appointed as the Governor of the Ross Dependency by an Imperial Order in Council made in London, United Kingdom. Since the Antarctic Treaty came into force in 1961, Article 1 of which states "The treaty does not recognize, dispute, nor establish territorial sovereignty claims; no new claims shall be asserted while the treaty is in force", most countries do not recognise territorial claims in Antarctica.
The Dependency takes its name from Sir James Clark Ross, who discovered the Ross Sea, and includes part of Victoria Land, and most of the Ross Ice Shelf. Ross Island, Balleny Islands and the small Scott Island also form part of the Dependency, as does the ice-covered Roosevelt Island.

Habitation

The scientific bases of Scott Base (New Zealand) and McMurdo Station (USA) currently form the only permanently occupied human habitations in the area – unless one includes the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station located just inside the very southern corner of the territory. The Dependency has a snow runway at Williams Field, and depending on conditions and time of year, two Ice Runways. This guarantees accessibility by wheeled and ski equipped aircraft year round.
Italy conducts scientific research each summer at their Zucchelli Station in Terra Nova Bay, and from 1969 to 1995 New Zealand operated a summer-only base called Vanda Station in the Dry Valley area of the dependency.
Greenpeace maintained its own Antarctic station in the Ross Dependency called World Park Base from 1987 to 1992, which was on Ross Island. As this base was a non-governmental entity, the official policy of the signatory nations of the Antarctic Treaty was not to give any support or assistance to it.

Jurisdiction

Following his discovery of Victoria Land in 1841, James Clark Ross took possession of this territory, along with the surrounding sea, on behalf of Britain. On 30 July 1923, the British government passed an Order in Council under the British Settlements Act 1887, which defined the current borders of the Ross Dependency as follows,

"From and after the publication of this Order in the Government Gazette of the Dominion of New Zealand that part of His Majesty's Dominions in the Antarctic Seas, which comprises all the islands and territories between the 160th degree of East Longitude and the 150th degree of West Longitude which are situated south of the 60th degree of South Latitude shall be named the Ross Dependency."

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The Order in Council then went on to appoint the Governor-General and Commander-in Chief of New Zealand as the Governor of the territory. This Order in Council was published in the New Zealand Gazette on 16 August 1923, and on 14 November 1923, the Governor-General issued regulations extending New Zealand law to the Ross Dependency.
After the Order in Council was read in the New Zealand House of Representatives by the Rt. Hon. William Ferguson Massey, a clarification was made by the Attorney-General Hon. Sir Francis Bell in the legislative council. Sir Francis stated that,

 

"The boundaries of New Zealand are not extended to include the Ross sea and adjacent lands. His Majesty's delegation to the Governor-General of New Zealand did not confer upon the government or parliament of New Zealand the same powers as were vested by the Constitution Act in respect of the Dominion itself. It might be assumed that in the administration of the Ross Dependency that he would invite advice from his New Zealand ministers and it was certain that details would be entrusted to the New Zealand government. But his excellency was required in all matters of legislation and regulation for the Ross Territory to comply with instructions from the colonial secretary. There was no reason to believe that the Colonial Office would give such instructions without prior consultation with the Government of the Dominion, but the part which the New Zealand Government had agreed to take in enabling His Majesty to exercise jurisdiction in and over the Ross Territory must be taken on behalf of the Empire as a whole and not specially in the interests of New Zealand."

 

 

At an Imperial conference in 1930, it was agreed that the Governor-Generals of the Dominions would be appointed by the King on the advice of the Dominion in question. And following the passing of the Statute of Westminster in 1931 (which was adopted in full by New Zealand in 1947), the government of the United Kingdom relinquished all control over the government of New Zealand. This however had no bearing on the obligations of the Governor-General of New Zealand in his capacity as Governor of the Ross Dependency on the appointment of Her Majesty's Government in the United Kingdom. Then in the year 1959, the Antarctic Treaty was signed by twelve nations which included both the United Kingdom and New Zealand.
The actual amount of land mass claimed is not large; most of the area defined as being in the Ross Dependency is either in the Ross Sea or the Antarctic Ocean. It is the second-smallest of the claims which were made prior to the implementation of the Antarctic Treaty System and the suspension of all territorial claims to Antarctica proper. Officers of the Government of the Ross Dependency are annually appointed to run the Dependency.

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The New Zealand Geographic Board has named many features within the Dependency.
In the summer of 1985, when the British non-governmental exploratory vessel Southern Quest sank in the Ross Sea, United States Coast Guard helicopters rescued the crew, who were taken to McMurdo Station. The expedition was criticised by scientists in the Antarctic because the rescue and return of the crew disrupted their work.
In 2006, the New Zealand police reported that jurisdictional issues prevented them issuing warrants for potential American witnesses who were reluctant to testify during the Christchurch Coroner's investigation into the poisoning death of Rodney Marks at the South Pole base.

Flag

Currently, only the New Zealand national flag serves in an official capacity in the Ross Dependency. The only other 'official' flag seen in photographs was the New Zealand Post flag to denote Scott Base's post office.

 

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