The New Zealander on board a ship with a rogue Norwegian adventurer headed for Antarctica is a Mana Party activist who is heading to the ice to pay his respects to a friend who was killed on the last voyage, and to place a Mana Party flag.
Busby Noble, 53, who worked on the campaign for Tamaki Makaurau candidate Kereama Pene at last year's general election, was invited on board the voyage skippered by Norwegian adventurer Jarle Andhoy.
Andhoy is on a mission to find the remains of another yacht, the Berserk, thought to have sunk in McMurdo Sound in February last year, with the loss of three crew members.
The yacht had sunk while Andhoy, 34, and companion Samuel Massie made an attempt to reach the South Pole by quad bike without authorisation.
The latest voyage has also not been given official sign off.
Pene said he had been speaking daily to Noble since the Nilaya sailed from Auckland on January 23 and the crew had been experiencing ''beautiful weather''. He had also been reporting on the yachts whereabouts to the government.
''I've been keeping tabs on him''
He said the yacht had reached the Antarctic ice shelf in the last day or so and the crew would spend about a week on the ice before returning to New Zealand.
Pene said Noble had been getting ''a bit of stick'' because he did not have a New Zealand passport when he left the country, but was instead travelling under an illegitimate Tino Rangatiratanga passport.
He said Noble had approached him to see whether he could take a Mana party flag to the ice and place in a symbolic gesture so that the spirit of his dead friend could be released.
Pene said he and Mana Party leader Hone Harawira had no problem with Noble taking a flag.
Noble had been ''paying his way'' on the voyage by undertaking mechanical repairs.
Pene said he was unsure which member of the Berserk crew had been a friend of Noble.
- Fairfax Media