New Zealander awarded prestigious Polar Medal for work in Antarctica

A Kiwi meteorologist has joined the ranks of Sir Edmund Hillary and Sir Ernest Shackleton as a recipient of the Polar Medal.

Auckland born Agnieszka Fryckowska had a yearning to go to Antarctica and moved there in 2004. Source: 1 NEWS

Agnieszka Fryckowska received the prestigious award for her service with the British Antarctic Survey.

She was flown from her home in Antarctica to Buckingham Palace to receive the medal from the Duke of Cambridge, Prince William – a moment she wasn't so cool about.

"I was so nervous," she said. "I forgot do a curtsy.

"We did have a little chat, I was so nervous and I didn't know what to say but he smiled and seemed quite happy so I was pleased."

Ms Frychowska moved to Antarctica in 2004 after studying at Otago University.

"I started off as a meteorologist so I started in science, then got a passion for management so ended up as the station leader, managing the stations."

The Auckland-born medal recipient says she was honoured by the recognition.

"It means everything - it's recognition for a Kiwi to have done so much work in the Antarctic and everybody who works down there as well.

"I'm overwhelmed really by receiving it. Hopefully it encourages others to do the same."

The first polar medal was awarded in 1904 to participants in Captain Robert F Scott's first successful expedition to the Antarctic. It's given to those who give valuable service in conditions of great hardship.