Summits for Sir Ed a tribute to a great NZer
30 May 2008 Media Statement
Summits for Sir Ed a tribute to a great New Zealander
Recreation Minister Clayton Cosgrove has congratulated the
organisers of the Summits for Ed Tribute Tour which finished
at Cape Reinga yesterday.
The tour started on 25 March 2008 in Bluff and visited more than 30 locations throughout the country. Many New Zealanders climbed to the summit of a local hill in each location and attended a ceremony to pay tribute to Sir Edmund Hillary. The tour was halted for over a month as a mark of respect to the seven people who lost their lives in the central North Island canyoning tragedy in April.
Mr Cosgrove said the Summits for Sir Ed tour has been a great achievement. “Thousands of Kiwis, school children, parents, representatives from sport and recreation groups and iwi climbed iconic hills and mountains around the country to pay tribute to his life. It has brought a lot of different people together. There is no doubt that Kiwis admired and respected Sir Edmund and saw him as one of New Zealand’s greatest ever heroes. This tour was a good way to honour him.”
“For many it’s been a real family thing: babies as young as two-months old have gone up in carry packs, and people in their early 80s have walked to the summits. The climbers have had to walk in bad weather and in some cases make some particularly challenging, steep climbs - out of the comfort zone for some. It would have been something Sir Ed would have appreciated and admired,” Mr Cosgrove said.
As people throughout the country have ascended their local mountain they have donated a rock or stone to be included in a memorial at the Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre in Tongariro.
“The idea to gift rocks has been very popular. There are some great stories behind each one,” said Mr Cosgrove. “There was one elderly gentleman, a former Lions colleague of Sir Edmund, who used to raise funds for the Himalayan Trust. He donated a rock from Gallipoli. In another case a boy of four donated a stone he had picked up at two and which had been a toy for him.”
“The Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Pursuits Centre who organised this tour must be congratulated on their thoughtful and appropriate memorial to mark Sir Edmund’s life and achievements.”
The Summits for Ed Tribute Tour was sponsored by SPARC, the government agency responsible for promoting sport and physical recreation. Other sponsors included Lions, Toyota and Genesis.