Ice man's passion includes seals
Lou Sanson has gone from shooting seals to being one of their fiercest protectors.
The irony is not lost on Antarctica New Zealand's chief executive who cannot believe the changes on the icy continent since he was first there.
Sanson grew up infatuated with Antarctica. His father, who ran the science laboratory at Scott Base, told him tales of Robert Falcon Scott, Ernest Shackleton and the icy continent.
Antarctica was heavily connected to New Zealand's national identity, he said.
"The first time New Zealand was on the world stage was with Scott and Shackleton . . . polar traditions are a part of our national identity."
In 1982, after two failed applications, Sanson started working as a field assistant on a drilling programme in the Dry Valleys. The role involved shooting seals which he would cut up for dog food.
For the next 20 years Sanson worked for the Conservation Department as the Southland conservator and on cruise ships talking about Antarctica.
In 2002, he became Antarctica New Zealand's chief executive because his "passion" for the continent never ceased.
Sanson said New Zealand played a leading role in understanding Antarctica, and was one of 28 countries that signed the Antarctic Treaty.
"It is the most successful agreement outside of the United Nations . . . it is a continent for peace and science."
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