14 Aug 2023

29-year-old firefighter Laura Andrews is a woman of many talents.

The Kiwi works for Auckland Airport Emergency Services as part of the aviation rescue team, working as a firefighter, a medical first responder, part of the marine rescue team, and corresponding services with the likes of FENZ.

In 2022, Ms Andrews was selected by Antarctic Heritage Trust to join a Kiwi-Norwegian team of Inspiring Explorers that would ski 920km across fifty days on a journey to the South Pole.

The adventure was the organisation's ninth expedition and celebrated 150 years since the birth of Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, the first person to reach the South Pole.

“The expedition was a chance to walk in the shoes of previous explorers and keep the history of these historical figures alive,” says Ms Andrews.

“We had to delve into the explorer mindset, tapping into characteristics like resilience, curiosity and bravery, and translating that from the heroic explorers to our own expedition.”

Ms Andrew says that her years of love for snow sports and time spent travelling New Zealand on family holidays helped to prepare her for this adventure. 

“Growing up as a classic Kiwi kid is kind of our repertoire. It builds you up with such a diverse skill base, and these skills translate to the expedition.

“Everything from knowing how to pitch a tent to being able to darn a hole in your thermal – these are characteristics that Kiwi kids grow up with.

“Throughout years of getting involved in outdoor activities through New Zealand, I learnt how to push myself, how to push my limits, and how to push through mental barriers.”

The group underwent extreme mental and physical endurance, only coming across four other people in the fifty day expedition – workers on a fuel base for a remote aeroplane landing area.

Ms Andrews will talk about this incredible opportunity at an upcoming Tūranga event as part of the Awesome Antarctica Speaker Series.

Ms Andrews will discuss how she developed an explorer mindset and the lessons she learned along the way to better prepare for the future.

Register here to join on 16 August for an evening of exploration and inspiration.