Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
|Political status||Dependency of New Zealand|
|Governor||Dame Silvia Cartwright, ex officio as Governor-General of New Zealand|
450 000 km² (174 000 mi²)
|Population|| Scott Base: 10-80 seasonally|
McMurdo Station: 200-1000 seasonally
|Currency||New Zealand dollar|
The Ross Dependency comprises an area of Antarctica (and other land masses in the Southern Ocean) claimed by New Zealand. It is defined by a sector originating at the South Pole, passing along longitudes 160° east to 150° west, and terminating at latitude 60° south. The Dependency takes its name from Sir James Clark Ross, who discovered the Ross Sea.
The British government took possession of the territory in 1923 and entrusted it to the administration of New Zealand. Neither the Russian Federation nor the United States of America recognizes this claim, and the matter is left unresolved (along with all other Antarctic claims) by the Antarctic Treaty, which serves to mostly smooth over these differences.
The Dependency includes part of Victoria Land, and most of the Ross Ice Shelf. 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. The Dependency has an ice runway at Williams Field , normally only suitable for landing ski-equipped aircraft during the summer season.
It also encompasses Ross Island, Balleny Islands and the small Scott Island also form part of the Dependency, as does the ice-covered Roosevelt Island. New Zealand had a summer-only base in the Dry Valley area of the dependency called Vanda Station, which operated from 1969 to 1995.
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.
The Dependency originally bore the name King Edward VII Land - a name still used for the area around Cape Colbeck to the west of the ice shelf - and the New Zealand Post Office overprinted some 23,492 postage stamps with that name for use by the 1908 British Antarctic Expedition. Ernest Shackleton was sworn in as the first postmaster. In later years, the New Zealand Post Office issued stamps under the name "Ross Dependency" for use by expeditions in the Dependency. Stamp issues ceased for a time after the Scott Base Post Office closed as part of the rationalisation of New Zealand Post in 1987, but they were reintroduced again in 1994 due to demand.
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