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Banks Speech: Presenting Sir Edmund With Award

Mayoral speech notes:

Presenting Sir Edmund Hillary KG with the Auckland City Council’s inaugural Distinguished Citizen Award at a Special Meeting of Council at the Auckland Town Hall.

(Apology from Hobson Ward Councillor, Scott Milne)

I move (seconded by the Deputy Mayor):

“That the inaugural Auckland City Distinguished Citizen Award be conferred upon Sir Edmund Hillary and that the record reflects this:”

Sir Edmund and Lady Hillary

Members and friends of the Hillary family

Mr and Mrs Kay

Dame Catherine Tizard

Mr and Mrs Mills

Mrs Fletcher

Deputy Mayor, Councillor Hay

Chief Executive, Brian Taylor Council colleagues

Fellow citizens

As we near the 50th anniversary of the ascent of Mt Everest, tonight marks a historic and special time for Auckland City.

This special occasion is for us – the elected representatives, the Chief Executive and staff – our privilege.

Two officers from the Auckland and Northland Countess of Ranfurly’s Own Regiment witness these proceedings this evening.

Sir Edmund Hillary was always going to be the recipient of the Auckland City Council’s inaugural Distinguished Citizen Award.

Sir Edmund has made an outstanding contribution to Auckland City and as a citizen of the City he has made an outstanding contribution to New Zealand.

His contribution is well documented and his place in history is well earned.

Sir Edmund has been Auckland City’s number one ambassador for 50 years and is New Zealand’s most distinguished citizen.

He is the only Commonwealth citizen who has never held Vice-Regal office to be admitted by the Queen, a Knight of the Garter. He is also a foundation member of the Order of New Zealand.

At 11:30am on the morning of the 29 May 1953, Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay reached the summit of Mt Everest - 29,028 feet above sea level: The highest mountain on earth.

That day marked the beginning, not the end of Sir Edmund’s legacy of achievement.

Auckland City believes in putting success on a pedestal and recognising people who make a difference – a big difference.

Tonight, we are gathered to honour the life and the many unparalleled achievements of Sir Edmund Hillary.

His path has been one of distinction.

His contribution has been one of greatness.

His humanity is one of inspiration.

Sir Edmund embodies all that is good about New Zealand. He is one of us. We are proud of him and tonight we salute him.

It is now my honour on behalf of the people of Auckland City to grant this Distinguished Citizen Award and I quote from the scripted citation: “The Path to Distinction:

Sir Edmund has undertaken good work from the bottom of the world to the summit of the highest mountain.

Sir Edmund’s influence spans the physical to social realms. His achievements began with the 1953 ascent of Mt Everest and include the establishment of Scott Base, Antarctica. He formed the Himalayan Trust, which set up 27 schools, two hospitals, 12 medical centres and two airfields in Nepal, and built the Khumjung School.

Sir Edmund’s enthusiasm, empathy and expeditions have inspired and encouraged generations of New Zealanders.

Sir Edmund Hillary is Auckland City’s most distinguished citizen.

Presented at a special meeting of the Auckland City Council on 23 April 2003.”

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