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Remembering Sir Ed

Rt Hon Helen Clark
Prime Minister of New Zealand

23 October 2008 Media Statement

Remembering Sir Ed

Prime Minister Helen Clark said today that in consultation with the family of the late Sir Edmund Hillary agreement has been reached on initiatives to commemorate Sir Ed’s extraordinary life.

“The Government received many ideas from New Zealanders on how best to commemorate Sir Ed’s life. All ideas received have been considered, and the wishes of Sir Ed’s family have been paramount in that consideration.

“Sir Ed himself was a humble man. He wanted his legacy to live on through initiatives which related to his charitable work and to outdoor recreation, sport and fitness.

“With these factors in mind, five initiatives have been developed as fitting commemorations of Sir Ed’s life.

“One, the Sir Edmund Hillary Fellowship, has already been announced during the visit of the Governor-General to India in September. It provides for a citizen of India or Nepal to visit New Zealand each year. The fellow selected will be one identified with the potential to become a leader in the public, private, academic, or other spheres of Indian or Nepalese life. In building relations with India and Nepal, it is important that its future leaders know more about us.

“The new announcements today are as follows:

• a Hillary Shield is being inaugurated to be played between the All Blacks and England’s rugby team
• a Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Recreation Council is being established by SPARC, the government’s sport and recreation agency
• the Young New Zealanders’ Challenge of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award will in the future incorporate Sir Ed’s name, and
• a $60,000 funding boost for the Himalayan Trust is being made by the government, increasing the annual grant from the government to $350,000.

“Sir Ed had strong links to Britain. He was part of a British expedition when he conquered Mt Everest shortly after the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II. The Hillary Shield will be contested for the first time when the All Blacks play England at Twickenham on 29 November this year.

“Sir Ed was our greatest explorer and a great proponent of outdoor activity overall. It is fitting that SPARC’s new outdoor recreation council will be named after him. The council will provide leadership and advice on promoting outdoor recreation and making the opportunities in the great outdoors of our country more widely known to and accessed by New Zealanders.

“Sir Ed was always willing to support initiatives to promote the development of young people. In renaming the Young New Zealanders’ Challenge of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award to incorporate Sir Ed’s name, we recognise his work with young people during his life and the inspiration his life and memory will be to future generations.

“The Himalayan Trust was founded by Sir Ed in 1956 to support education and health services for people of the Solu Khumbu region of Nepal. The increased annual grant to the Trust, provided through New Zealand's International Aid and Development Agency (NZAID), ensures that there continues to be a New Zealand link to the region and ongoing support for the Trust’s humanitarian work.

“Sir Ed was our greatest New Zealander. His achievements, attitudes, strength, bravery, and humility meant that he was looked up to by us all, and respected by people around the world. These initiatives being announced today ensure that his life will continue to be commemorated in ways which remind us all of the inspiration he gave to many,” Helen Clark said.


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