Celebrations mark the start of the Antarctic season each year, usually coinciding with the first flights to Antarctica at the end of September/beginning of October.
In 2012 the city launched the biennial 'New Zealand IceFest - Bringing Antarctica to the World' to coincide with the annual celebrations for the Antarctic Season Opening, The next festival will be in 2016.
Every year the city celebrates its Antarctic Gateway status and recognises the importance of the city’s Antarctic partnerships and connections – diplomatic, scientific, historical and cultural. The Antarctic Season Opening celebration are usually coincided with the first flights to Antarctica at the end of September/beginning of October.
Antarcticans have worshipped in the Christchurch Cathedral since 1901 when Scott’s Discovery expedition sailed south. The annual South to Antarctica Service, at the opening of the Antarctic Season, is held in conjunction with Antarctica New Zealand and the United States Antarctic Program. The Erebus Chalice which has been housed in the Cathedral over the winter is returned in the Chapel of the Snows at McMurdo Station for the summer.