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Annual Sir Edmund Hillary Day a fitting tribute

14 January 2008

Annual Sir Edmund Hillary Day a fitting tribute

The Green Party believes that an annual public holiday on the day of Sir Edmund Hillary's birth would be a fitting tribute that all New Zealanders could share.

"Sir Ed's birthday, July 20, or the Monday nearest to it, would be perfect day for New Zealanders to extend their weekend to participate in some form of outdoor winter activity.

"The Government is proposing some form of financial support for Sir Ed's Himalaya Trust. While the Greens strongly support this recognition and continuation of his work, and Sir Ed would have really appreciated it, it does not provide a means for ordinary Kiwis to commemorate this great New Zealander.

"I think Sir Ed would have been rapt to think that each year, on Sir Edmund Hillary Day, New Zealanders in their droves, headed out to organised alpine or tramping club activities, or got their skis and snowboards on and headed for the slopes, or got out and played a game of the more traditional winter games - rugby, rugby league, touch, or netball, or even tried their hand at curling.

"New Zealand has no public holidays between Queen's Birthday and Labour Day. It makes it a long winter. July 20 falls around the start of primary and secondary schools third term, so could easily be added to the end of that school holiday without disrupting any teaching programmes.

"Sir Ed was a fantastic role model in encouraging New Zealanders to get active. With his birthday falling virtually mid-winter, a day off in his memory for winter sports is an ideal tribute," Ms Fitzsimons says.

ENDS

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