The Ross Dependency is a region of Antarctica
defined by a sector
originating at the South Pole
, passing along longitude
s 160° east
to 150° west
, and terminating at latitude 60° south
. It is claimed by New Zealand
. Since the Antarctic Treaty
came into force in 1961, Article IV of which states: "No acts or activities taking place while the present Treaty is in force shall constitute a basis for asserting, supporting or denying a claim to territorial sovereignty in Antarctica or create any rights of sovereignty in Antarctica", 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
History of claim
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:
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 Prime Minister of New Zealand William Massey
, a clarification was made by the Attorney-General
Sir Francis Bell
in the legislative council
. Sir Francis stated that:
It has been said that the Order in Council contained no suggestion of a transfer to New Zealand of the United Kingdom's claim, but the fact remains that the territory is administered by the Government of New Zealand.
[''Commonwealth and Colonial Law'' by Sir Kenneth Roberts-Wray, London, Stevens, 1966. P. 137 (word for word quote as at 2 May 2015)]
Technically, the claim is that of the Queen and she can exercise it through any of her governments.
At an Imperial conference
in 1930, it was agreed that the Governors-General 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 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.
Geography and habitation
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. The New Zealand Geographic Board
has named many features within the Dependency.
The scientific bases of Scott Base
(New Zealand), McMurdo Station
(US) Mario Zucchelli Station
(Italy) and Jang Bogo
station (South Korea) are the only permanently occupied human habitations in the area, though Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station
(US) is partially within the territory and dependent on logistics operations based in New Zealand. China is establishing a year-round research station at Inexpressible Island in Terra Nova Bay of the Ross Sea that is expected to open in 2022. The Dependency has access to a U.S. Antarctic Program maintained snow runway at Williams Field
, and depending on conditions and time of year, two ice runway
s. This guarantees accessibility by wheeled and ski equipped aircraft year round.
From 1969 to 1995 New Zealand operated a summer-only base called Vanda Station
in the Dry Valley
area of the Dependency.
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.
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 British 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
"South Pole death file still open".
''Sunday Star Times'', December 17, 2006. Retrieved on December 19, 2006.
"Death of Australian astrophysicist an Antarctic whodunnit".
''Monstersandcritics.com'', December 14, 2006. Retrieved on December 19, 2006.
* Timeline of New Zealand's links with Antarctica
New Zealand, Antarctica and the Southern Ocean
— Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Outline of NZ involvement
Antarctica New Zealand
— Crown entity charged with administering, developing and managing Ross Dependency
50 years of Scott BaseStamps of Ross DependencyScientific Research by NIWA in Antarctica
* ttp://www.nzhistory.net.nz/politics/antarctica-and-nz Antarctica and New Zealand
NZ Ministry for Culture and Heritage
*Quartermain, L. B. (1971) New Zealand and the Antarctic. Wellington.
Category:Territorial claims in Antarctica
Category:States and territories established in 1923
Category:Dependent territories of New Zealand
Category:1923 establishments in Antarctica