IELTS LISTENING – Antarctic Centre in Christchurch S38T3


Antarctic Centre in Christchurch

INTERVIEWER : We’re pleased to welcome Dr Martin Merry whether of the Antarctic Centre in Christchurch, New Zealand who has come along to talk to us today about the role of the Centre and the Antarctic Treaty.

INTERVIEWER : Now my first question is about the choice of location for the centre. Why Christchurch? Was it because of the climate?

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DOCTOR : Well actually New Zealand is the second closest country to Antarctica and Christchurch is often used on Antarctic expeditions.

INTERVIEWER : Right, so it’s because of where we are… coupled with our historical role. So tell us—what is the main purpose of the centre?

DOCTOR : Well… we have two complementary roles. One is as a scientific base for expeditions and research and the other is as an information centre.

INTERVIEWER : Tell us something about the role as a scientific base.

DOCTOR : We’re able to provide information about what scientists should take with them to the South Pole—for example, the centre contains a clothing warehouse where expeditions are supplied with suitable clothing for the extreme conditions.

INTERVIEWER : I suppose you need a bit more than your normal winter coat!

DOCTOR : Yes, exactly and then there’s also the specialist library and mapping services.

INTERVIEWER : Right. And which countries are actually located at the centre?

DOCTOR : Well… the centre houses research programmes for New Zealand, for The United States as well as for Italy… there’s even a US post office at the American airforce base here.

INTERVIEWER : Really? And what does the visitor’s centre offer?

DOCTOR : Well, since very few people will ever experience the Antarctic first hand, the visitors’ centre aims to recreate the atmosphere of Antarctica. There’s a mock camp site where you can see inside an Antarctic tent and imagine yourself sleeping there. And the centre also acts as a showcase for the unique international co-operation which exists in Antarctica today.

INTERVIEWER : What is it actually like at the South Pole? I know you’ve been there on a number of occasions.

DOCTOR : Yes, I have and each time I’m struck by the awesome beauty of the place. It’s magnificent but you can really only visit it in the summer months.

INTERVIEWER : October to March.

DOCTOR : Yes, because it’s completely dark for four months of the year (pause) … and in addition it has to be the coldest place on earth.

INTERVIEWER : Colder than the North Pole? Why’s that?

DOCTOR : Well, unlike the North Pole, which is actually a frozen sea, Antarctica is a land mass shaped like a dome, with the result that the winds blow down the slopes at speeds of up to 150 km an hour and that’s what makes it so cold. And one other interesting thing is that Antarctica is the driest continent on earth, surprisingly, and so you have to drink large amounts of water when you’re there.

INTERVIEWER : How old is Antarctica?

DOCTOR : We’re pretty sure it was part of a larger land mass but it broke away from the rest of the continent 170 million years ago.

INTERVIEWER : How can you be certain of this?

DOCTOR : …because fossils and rocks have been discovered in Antarctica which are the same as those found in places such as Africa and Australia.

INTERVIEWER : Amazing… To think that it was once attached to Africa…

INTERVIEWER : Now let’s just have a look at the Antarctic Treaty. How far back does the idea of an international treaty go?

DOCTOR : Well, as far back as the 19th century, when eleven nations organised an international event.

INTERVIEWER : When was that exactly?

DOCTOR : In 1870. And it was called the Polar Research Meeting. And then, not long after that, they organised something called the First International Polar Year.

INTERVIEWER : And that took place when exactly?

DOCTOR : Over two years from 1882 to 1883. But it wasn’t until the 1950s that the idea of an international treaty was proposed. And in 1959 the Treaty was actually signed.

INTERVIEWER : What do you see as the main achievements of the treaty?

DOCTOR : Well, firstly it means that the continent is reserved for peaceful use.

INTERVIEWER : That’s Article 1, isn’t it?


INTERVIEWER : That’s important since the territory belongs to everyone.

DOCTOR : Yes but not as important as Article 5, which prohibits any nuclear explosions or waste disposal.

INTERVIEWER : Which is marvellous. Well, I’m afraid we’re going to have to stop there because I’m afraid we’ve run out of time. Thanks for coming along today and telling us all about the centre and its work.

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Travel Agent : Thank you for calling the Tourist Line. There are many different ways of getting round the city and we’d like to suggest some you may not have thought of.

How about a city trip by boat? There are four main stopping points from west to east: stop A Green Banks, stop B City Bridge, stop C Roman Landing and stop D Newtown.

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You can find the main booking office at stop A.

The first boat leaves at 8 a.m. and the last one at 6.30 p.m. There are also many attractions you can visit along the river. At Stop A, if you have time, you can visit the fine 16th century palace here built for the king with its beautiful formal gardens. It’s very near the booking office. Now you can enjoy every corner of this superb residence.

Stop B Why don’t you visit Tower Restaurant with its wide range of refreshments? This is a place where you can sit and enjoy the wonderful views over the old commercial and banking centre of the city.

Stop C is the area where, in the first century AD, invading soldiers crossed the river; this was much shallower than it is now. That’s why this area is called Roman Landing. There’s an interactive Museum to visit here with a large shop which has a good range of local history books.

At the furthest point of the trip, stop D, the most exciting place to visit is the new Entertainment Complex with seven-screen cinema, bowling alley and video games arcade.

Besides the boat tours, there are city buses. Two companies offer special services:

The Top Bus Company runs all its tours with a live commentary in English. Tours leave from 8.30 a.m. every 20 minutes. There are departures from Central Station, Castle Hill and Long Walk. This is a hop-on hop-off service and tickets are valid for 24 hours. For further details call Top Bus on 0208 9447810.

The Number One Sightseeing Tour is available with a commentary in eight languages. Buses depart from Central Station every five to six minutes from about 9 a.m. with the last bus at around 7 p.m. There are also Number One services with an English-speaking…

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WOMAN : Hello… motor insurance department…

MAN : Oh hello… I’d like to ask about insurance for my car.

WOMAN : Yes, of course. I’ll just take a few details. What’s your name?

MAN : Patrick Jones.

WOMAN : And your address?

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MAN : It’s 27 Bank Road.

WOMAN : 27 Bank Road. Is that in Greendale?

MAN : Yes.

WOMAN : And what’s your daytime phone number?

MAN : My work number is 730453.

WOMAN : And could I ask what your occupation is?

MAN : Dentist.

WOMAN : OK… now a few details about your car… What size is the engine?

MAN : It’s 1200 CCS.

WOMAN : Thank you… and the make and model?

MAN : It’s a Hewton Sable.

WOMAN : Could you spell the model name please?

MAN : Yes… S-A-B-L-E.

WOMAN : Ah yes.., thanks. And when was it made?

MAN : 1997.

WOMAN : Lovely… right… I presume you’ve had a previous insurer?

MAN : Yes.

WOMAN : Right… we need to know the name of the company.

MAN : Yes… it was Northern Star.

WOMAN : Thank you, and have you made any insurance claims in the last five years?

MAN : Yes… one in 1999.

WOMAN : And what was the problem?

MAN : It was stolen… but…

WOMAN : That’s fine, Mr Jones… that’s all we need to know at the moment…

WOMAN : And will there be any other named drivers?

MAN : Just the one…

WOMAN : And his name?

MAN : Simon Paynter.

WOMAN : Could you spell the surname please?

MAN : P-A-Y-N-T-E-R.

WOMAN : OK thank you… And what relationship is he to you?

MAN : He’s my brother-in-law.

WOMAN : And what will you or Mr Paynter be using the car for?

MAN : Well… mainly for social use…

WOMAN : Social use (murmuring). Will you be using it to travel to work?

MAN : Yes… sometimes.

WOMAN : …Anything else?

MAN : No. That’s it…

WOMAN : And finally… when would you like to start the insurance?

MAN : I’ll need it from the 31st of January.

WOMAN : Right… Mr Jones… I’m getting a couple of quotes coming up on the computer now… and the best bet looks like being with a company called Red Flag.

MAN : Yeah.

WOMAN : And that comes out at $450 per year…

MAN : Well… that seems OK… it’s quite a bit lower than I’ve been paying up to now…

WOMAN : Great… so would you like me to go ahead with that?

MAN : Sure… why not?

WOMAN : How would you like to pay?

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Good afternoon, everyone!

This is the first seminar in preparation for our archaeological fieldwork in Namibia: we are fantastically lucky to have received partial research funding for this trip from our Institute so I shall expect 200% attention and participation from you all. First in this seminar. I’m going to give a brief introduction to contemporary research on rock art. and in the second part, I’m going to give you some do’s and don’ts for our fieldwork trip in April so please listen very carefully.

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I’m first going to focus on the interpretation of rock art in Namibia. We are very fortunate to be going to an area where you can find some of the most important sites in the entire world. And I hope to show you how easy it is for everyone to make mistakes in looking at cultures which are different from our own the first and most important lesson we have to learn.

In Namibia there arc both paintings and engravings that’s where the surface of the rock is cut out. Many of the engravings show footprints of animals and most scholars used to think that the purpose of these was simple and obvious: this rock art was like a school book with pictures lo teach children about tracks: which track belonged lo which animal – giraffe, lion and so on.

But there were some mysteries. First, when you look at a typical Namibian painting or engraving, you see the tracks are repeated, there are dozens of tracks for the same animal. You’d expect just one clear illustration if the reason the aim was to teach tracking.

Now there were two more problems. Why are some of the engravings of animals very accurate as you’d expect all clearly identifiable and others quite unrealistic?

And another mystery some of these unrealistic animals that’s in the engravings seem to be half-human. Some, for example, have got human faces. Many researchers now think that these were pictures the wise men engraved of themselves. They believed they could use magic to control the animals they had drawn, so the hunters could then catch them for food.

This shows you some of the dangers of coming from one culture to another, as we’ll be doing, without understanding it fully. Scholars imagined that children looked al rock art pictures to learn to track just because they themselves had learnt skills from pictures: many researchers now believe that rock art had a much more complex purpose. And we’ll talk more about it next week!

Now before I invite you to join in a discussion in this second part of the seminar. I’d like to make some very important points about our fieldwork and in fact any field trip to look at rock art.

We’re going to a number of sites, and we won’t always be together. The single largest problem faced by people who manage the sites is – yes. I’m sure you’ve guessed damage caused by visitors, even though it’s usually unintentional.

Whenever you do go to a site, don’t forget you can learn many things from observing at a distance instead of walking all over it. This can really help to reduce visitor pressure. People often say. ‘Well, there’s only two of us and just this one time’, but maybe thousands of people are saying the same thing.

And then some basic rules to guide you – we’ll have our own camp near a village, but remember never to camp on a site if you go on your own It may be disrespectful to the people of that culture and certainly don’t make fires, however romantic it may seem. It’s really dangerous in dry areas, and you can easily burn priceless undiscovered material by doing so.

So, how are we going to enjoy the rock art on our field trip? By looking at it. drawing it and photographing it – NEVER by touching it or even tracing it. Rock art is fragile and precious.

Remember that climbing on rocks and in caves can destroy in a moment what has lasted for centuries. So no heroics in Namibia, please! Try to be extra careful and help others to be too.

And lastly please don’t even move rocks or branches to take photographs you should leave the site intact. I’m sure I can rely on you to do that.

Well, that’s about all I want to say before today’s first discussion, but if you have any questions please ask them now and don’t forget you’ll find some fascinating information about world–wide sites on the Internet. Right, first question then?

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