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Green Party salutes Sir Edmund Hillary

Green Party salutes Sir Edmund Hillary

The Green Party is congratulating Sir Edmund Hillary on his outstanding lifelong achievements. Parliament on Monday celebrates the 50th year anniversary of the explorer's famous ascent of Mount Everest with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay.

Green Co-leaders Jeanette Fitzsimons and Rod Donald said Sir Edmund was an inspiration to New Zealanders and the world, with his unprecedented mountaineering feats, tireless environmental endeavours, and his lifetime of humanitarian work.

"Sir Edmund has done outstanding work on behalf of people in developing countries, and particularly for the Nepalese. He never forgot the kindness and hard work of the Nepalese who showed him hospitality and shared in his mountaineering achievements. He has repaid them in kind, with humanity and kinship, helping to build hospitals, clinics and schools," the leaders said.

"His environmental concerns included a caring attitude to the Himalayas, making him not just a conqueror of peaks, but also a protector. He persuaded the Nepalese Government to declare the area around Everest a National Park, and to pass laws to protect the forest."

Ms Fitzsimons said she remembered a lecture by Sir Edmund where he described helping to shore up an ancient monastery in the Himalayas. The original proposal to stabilise collapsing rock involved masses of concrete - impossible to transport to a site without roads. However, Sir Edmund enlisted the help of New Zealand engineers to develop a system using number 8 wire, which could be carried by Sherpas.

"This is an outstanding example of appropriate technology in practice. It also encapsulates the spirit of Sir Edmund - endeavour, determination, lateral thinking and good old Kiwi ingenuity," Ms Fitzsimons said.

Mr Donald said he had enjoyed working with Sir Edmund during Sir Edmund's many years as president of Volunteer Services Abroad. "I always found him to be a man of vision, compassion and resolve. The way he works with people to help them achieve their full potential can teach the world a lot about understanding and tolerance," Mr Donald said.

"The Green Party salutes Sir Edmund as a true national hero," the leaders said.

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