25 February 2019
For New Zealand Army Private Nikora Robinson, working in Antarctica is a treasured opportunity to support the research being undertaken on the continent.
Private Robinson, 20, from Mangonui, near Kaitaia, is part of the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) team based in Antarctica over the summer season.
One of the main NZDF tasks on the frozen continent this season is offloading more than 500 containers from United States cargo ship Ocean Giant. The cargo contains essential supplies for New Zealand’s Scott Base and the United States’ McMurdo Station.
Private Robinson is part of the team offloading the containers and loading containers containing rubbish and other material to be sent back to New Zealand and the United States.
He is working alongside 44 of his New Zealand Army colleagues from the Linton and Burnham camps. They are all staying at McMurdo Station for the duration of their stay.
“I love it,” Private Robinson said. “It’s an awesome experience, so I feel pretty lucky to be down here helping out the scientists.”
It’s Private Robinson’s second time to the ice. Last season was even more special because he celebrated his birthday there.
“That was a highlight of my career. Another was going to Singapore last year on exercise,” he said.
While Private Robinson grew up in the Far North, he moved to Australia when he was 10 and completed his schooling there. However, curiosity about a New Zealand Army career brought him home and he enlisted in 2016.
“It was something I was always wondering about and always had an interest in,” he said.
“Once I’d finished school in Australia I looked for an opportunity to get more out of life. So to kill the curiosity I moved back and joined up.
“When people ask me if they should join the Army I say, ‘What have you got to lose? If it’s not for you, you don’t have to stay, but you’ve gained an interesting experience. If it is for you, you have taken that leap and you can’t go wrong.’”