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29 February should be the day to mark Sir Ed

Media release

Newmarket Business Association

Sunday, 13 January 2008

29 February should be the day to mark Sir Ed

Auckland business advocate Cameron Brewer says the Government should seriously consider making 29 February in leap year an official public holiday to mark the life of Sir Edmund Hillary.

"I know any government is reluctant to add an additional public holiday largely because it costs business, particularly when you consider four weeks paid annual leave was only introduced last year. However a public holiday on 29 February would only take place every four years and so it would be really special.

"I don't think anyone in the business community would have a problem with such a proposition. It would be a very small price to pay to have a dedicated day just once every four years."

Mr Brewer said remembering Sir Edmund every ‘leap’ year would be a fitting tribute given his unprecedented mountaineering achievements. He also notes that it was the 29th when Hillary reached the summit of Everest – albeit in May.љ

"It's a day that could have a really strong outdoors and family focus. SPARC, formally the Hillary Commission, could get right in behind it and given it's effectively the last day of summer, it would be a great chance to focus on New Zealand's outdoor lifestyle."

"Kicking it off this year would be perfect. The 29th falls on a Friday and could also be a good day for a major public tribute event."

“Many people are calling for a public holiday, but in reality the announcement of an annual one would be completely unprecedented and very unlikely. The 29th of February on the other hand is very doable. It would be a very practical trade-off.
“Sir Ed never wanted any monuments, fuss or to impose any cost on anyone. With that in mind a holiday every 29 February would be the perfect living and lasting tribute,” said Mr Brewer.
Mr Brewer is calling on members of the public who support the idea to contact their MP, write a letter to their local newspaper or ring up talkback radio. “Let’s see if we can gather some momentum around this, rather than sitting around waiting for the Government to announce that in fact there won’t be much happening at all. Let’s do something now to ensure Sir Edmund remains a point of discussion in New Zealand classrooms and living rooms forever. Wouldn’t it be great to know that in 200 years time children will ask ‘why do we have Hillary Day?’”


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