Anderton: Sir Edmund Hillary tribute
Hon Jim Anderton
Minister of Agriculture, Minister for Biosecurity Minister of Fisheries, Minister of Forestry Associate Minister of Health Associate Minister for Tertiary Education
11 January 2008
Sir Edmund Hillary tribute
Ed Hillary was a great New Zealander, not just because he was one of the first two people to set foot on the summit of Mt Everest, although that was a notable achievement in itself, Progressive Party leader Jim Anderton said today.
"Quite a lot of people have done that since and we haven't put their likeness on our money.
"What made him a great New Zealander was his refusal to rest on his laurels as he might easily have done. Instead, he saw a need on the part of the sherpa mountain people of Nepal and devoted his long life to doing something practical about it."
Jim Anderton said that in doing that, he not only caught the spirit of what is the best in the New Zealand national character, he underlined it in his own modest response at the time to climbing the world's highest mountain.
"Asked for his personal reaction to his achievement, he said: 'We knocked the bastard off' when he might very reasonably have claimed the credit for himself and turned that into a career.
"All his life Ed knew that things got achieved by everybody pulling together as a community. It's his profiling of that in his own life that makes him a great New Zealander among his own people."