In a major new Herald podcast series, Detour: Antarctica, Thomas Bywater goes in search of the white continent’s hidden stories. In this accompanying text series, he reveals a few of his discoveries to whet your appetite for the podcast. You can read them all, and experience a very special visual presentation, by clicking here. To follow Detour: Antarctica, visit iHeartRadio, or wherever you get your podcasts.
Emilio Marcos Palma was the first person to be born in Antarctica.
Delivered at Esperanza Base, on January 7, 1978, there is a photo of him and his proud parents in the archives of Antarctica New Zealand.
The archives are full of curious artefacts - there are more than 50,000 photos and news clippings.
However, the Palma family photo stands out because pregnancy is a disqualifying condition for most Antarctic programmes. It is screened for in the pre-deployment medical and, should anyone fall pregnant in Antarctica, they are to be returned to Christchurch on the next flight.
Photographer Horacio Villalobos took the picture - an assignment he viewed as trivial.
"It belongs to a period in Argentinian life that is an eternal disgrace," he says.
Villalobos flew to Esperanza Base at the behest of the regime overseen by dictator Jorge Rafael Videla.
"It was a rather bothersome flight in a C130. It was noisy and uncomfortable and I had to put up with a son of a b**** who was leading the mission to visit the baby," says Villalobos.
Emilio Palma's mother, Silvia Morella Palma, had been flown to the base while six months pregnant in order to give birth on continental Antarctica. His father, Jorge Emilio, was an Argentine army officer and captain of the base.
Argentina was competing with Chile to have the first child born on the continent. Ten further children were born below the 60th parallel south, including Chilean national Juan Pablo Camacho, the first person to be conceived, carried and born on the continent, who arrived on November 21, 1984.
"You had two dictatorships, who were despised by most of the world, competing to give birth to a child in what they claimed was their part of Antarctica," says Villalobos.
"There were other families already in Esperanza, the only novelty was that the baby was going to be born there. It was kind of a silly thing."
Chile and Argentina have since banned pregnancy from their Antarctic programmes. However, there are still primary schools at their bases for the families of workers.