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South Pole expedition

Dawn Gibson
Thursday, November 22, 2012

ABRAR Shabren will soon make history when he becomes the first Fiji-born to venture to the South Pole, in the southern hemisphere next month.

At the age of 26, Mr Shabren will be going as part of an Australian expedition team from Tasmania in an attempt to better understand the Antarctic-affected changes that occur in climate.

Mr Shabren was born and bred in Votualevu in Nadi. He attended Votualevu Public School in his primary years and Votualevu High School, now known as Votualevu College.

His love for science was something that showed to some extent as a child.

"I come from an average family with two elder brothers and I used to take active part in science and experiments," Mr Shabren said.

After high school and college, the Nadi-boy was recruited by the Fiji Meteorological Services as a meteorological technical officer/weather and climate observer.

"I worked at the National Weather Forecasting Centre in Nadi Airport until 2009.

"I was then posted to Vunisea in Kadavu as the weatherman/weather and climate observer for 18 months," he said.

He said as his career progressed and opportunities presented themselves, he "just went with the flow."

He then moved to Australia to further chase his career opportunities and his passion.

"Australia is a beautiful place with massive opportunities in every area so I grabbed them as they came along so I joined Bureau of Meteorology Australia."

On the expedition, Mr Shabren will be working as a meteorological weather/climate observer research and technical systems, through the Bureau of Meteorology and Australian Antarctic Division.

The station manager for Mr Shabren's expedition, Allan Cooney, spoke positively about Mr Shabren's contributions to the expedition.

"Abrar is a good ambassador for all we do and will be a fine expediter," he said.

There are many expedition teams which are sent to the South Pole annually, and Mr Shabren has been selected to go on one of the teams — something which has brought much joy to his life. He will be based at the South Pole for 12 months.

"I feel so proud, honoured and excited being a pioneer, it's a privilege to be part of an expedition team.

"It is a step forward for somebody coming from a small place like Fiji and making a mark in the science world," Mr Shabren said.

Alongside his weatherman duties, Mr Shabren will also be aiding the team in monitoring, aviation and climate support.

"I will be working with some of the world's best scientist, providing them with technical and research assistance and working with them in physics and experiments," he said.

He continued to say that this was not all that was expected of the young expediter.

"We do other station duties such as postal agent, boat crew, firefighting crew, hydroponics, search and rescue and other duties to keep the station running smoothly," he said.

One of the main aims of the expedition is to attempt to further understand phenomena such as the El-Nino and La-Nina.

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