The mountain peaks and ranges and associated temperate-zone glaciers and glacier valleys of the Southern Alps of New Zealand are of considerable geological and climatological importance. In the context of global warming the glaciers in particular are currently subjects of much international scientific research. The Southern Alps are also justifiably regarded worldwide as spectacular and unique attractions and destinations for tourists, back-packers, mountaineers, skiers and wing and other gliders, as well as for artists in many media including feature movie-making.
The present collection of images in geographic essay format arrestingly portrays iconic peaks and glaciers and other special geological features of the most famous and most visited part of the Southern Alps; that which includes Mount Cook and the Tasman, Franz Josef and Fox Glaciers.
In this collection the principal images of Mount Cook are numbers 4, 5, 6, 7 and 31.
Mount Cook, "Aoraki" in the Maori language, is New Zealand's highest (3,754 meters / 12,316 feet) and best-known peak and among the world's most technically challenging for climbers. It was a favourite of the New Zealand mountaineer Sir Edmund Hillary (1919-2008) whose many ascents of it contributed greatly to his preparation for the first successful attempt on Mount Everest when, as a member of the 1953 British Everest Expedition led by Sir John Hunt, he was chosen together with the Nepalese sherpa Tenzing Norgay for the two-man final assault on the summit on 29 May.
Many of the 43 images selected for this collection were included in the one-man large-format exhibition "Heavens and Firmament" which was mounted for fund-raising for the Stop Polio Campaign of Save The Children Fund NZ in the summer of 1981 at New Zealand's Auckland Museum; and in 1986 at New Zealand House,The Haymarket, London and, by special invitation immediately following, at the Natural History Museum, Kensington, London, when for its public use in Geological education it was given scientific captions throughout and re-titled "Valley Glaciation in the Southern Alps of New Zealand"
In the years following, the original essay has been considerably updated. However, only 4 of the images in the present collection have been permitted by their New Zealand photojournalist creator to be published; that being in "New Zealand Geographic" magazine and, in the case of image number 42, in the book "New Zealand Geographic - 100 Best Images" Kennedy Warne (ed.) pub. D. Bateman 1995.
The first online presentation (beginning 29 May 2008) of this unique collection is aimed at making the images generally available to mountaineers, scientists, first-time and continuing visitors to New Zealand, artists, collectors and publishers, and for large-format display in museums, galleries and other public venues, as well as for private home decor and deployment in commercial settings.