Massey Ferguson tractors support Antarctic cause

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One of the Ferguson TE20 tractors used in Antarctica by Sir Edmund Hillary and his team. One of the Ferguson TE20 tractors used in Antarctica by Sir Edmund Hillary and his team. One of the Ferguson TE20 tractors used in Antarctica by Sir Edmund Hillary and his team.
The Expedition South team with the line-up of tractors that will be driven from Piha to Mt Cook. From the back, expedition leader Al Fastier, AHT Communications Administrator Lydia McLean, tractor driver Brian Blyth and Massey Ferguson New Zealand manager Peter Scott. The Expedition South team with the line-up of tractors that will be driven from Piha to Mt Cook. From the back, expedition leader Al Fastier, AHT Communications Administrator Lydia McLean, tractor driver Brian Blyth and Massey Ferguson New Zealand manager Peter Scott. The Expedition South team with the line-up of tractors that will be driven from Piha to Mt Cook. From the back, expedition leader Al Fastier, AHT Communications Administrator Lydia McLean, tractor driver Brian Blyth and Massey Ferguson New Zealand manager Peter Scott.

An expedition to help save explorer Sir Edmund Hillary’s Antarctic hut is set to travel 2012km using two of the same Ferguson TE20 tractors used by Sir Ed and his team, plus a new Massey Ferguson 120hp MF 5612.


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Named Expedition South, the adventure is in support of the New Zealand Antarctic Heritage Trust’s initiative to raise $1 million dollars to safeguard the hut — also known as Hut A — which was the first building constructed at Scott Base and is where Sir Ed began his historic expedition to the South Pole in 1958.

The journey will begin at Piha Beach (one of Sir Ed’s favourite places) to Aoraki Mount Cook (finishing just below the Hillary Ridge).

The MF 5600 Series tractor to be used is a replica of the tractor that made the trek across the Ice with Mannon Ossevoort in 2014 as she travelled from Novo Base to the South Pole. The tractor is on loan from AGCO brand Massey Ferguson and will be the support vehicle for the two Ferguson TE20 tractors as they make the trek.

 

Read our Massey Ferguson MF 5612 tractor review here

 

Sir Ed’s son Peter Hillary, who himself has skied from Scott Base to the South Pole, says Antarctica and the hut — which is now in a state of disrepair — were very important to his father.

"Dad often talked about his time in Antarctica and the trip to the South Pole ... he saw it as one of his major achievements, saying it was an extreme challenge after Everest."

In 1953, Hillary and Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay became the first climbers to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

Antarctic Heritage Trust Director Nigel Watson says Sir Ed’s decision to go to the South Pole was a bold move.

"No one had been overland since Captain Robert Scott in 1912," he says. "Sir Ed was on the ice supporting the Trans-Antarctic Expedition, and his decision to push on to the Pole with three Ferguson tractors was controversial.  But of course they made it – the first trip overland to the South Pole by motor vehicle.

"We’re very pleased to have Massey Ferguson on board with us and supporting such a valuable and worthwhile cause. The brand has a very strong connection with Sir Ed that stems back to his original expedition to the South Pole," Watson says.

Kicking off on August 24, Expedition South will be stopping at various schools, Hillary hotspots and events to collect donations from the New Zealand public.

"We are calling on Kiwis to give a fiver. The $5 note has Sir Ed’s face on it so we can’t think of a better use for it than saving his Antarctic legacy," Watson says.

Peter Hillary hopes the public will dig in and help save the hut.

"Dad was quoted as saying that he was ‘Hell bent on taking the South Pole – God willing and crevasse permitting’," he says. "Now I’m hoping New Zealand will be hell bent on saving his hut.

"The Antarctic Heritage Trust has come up with a wonderful plan - now we just need to find the funds."

Aussies keen to help save a bit of Antarctica’s history can also help by donating at expeditionsouth.nz

 

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