In a week of celebrating Sir Edmund Hillary’s centenary, as well as our own event, our trustees focused on reaching out to others who promote his legacy.
Sir Ranulph Fiennes’ incredible explorations were enjoyed by several of our trustees who attended the Himalayan Trust gala dinner in Auckland on Wednesday 17 July. MC Te Radar started with a wonderfully humorous ‘Antarctic’ health and safety briefing and throughout the evening made many marvellous links to Sir Ed’s dry, practical humour.
Our chair, Robin Houlker, was frantically busy all day Friday with various media, resulting in good uptake – see end of section browse media stories. A fresh burst of energy was needed for our event at Hillary House on Saturday 20 July, which would have been Sir Ed’s 100th birthday. At 8.30am on a chilly Saturday morning, a dump of snow outside the House went some way towards a sense of a mini Mt Everest.
This was followed by an afternoon open home and Sir Ed’s Antarctica exhibition inside the House, with photographer Jane Ussher and Shaun Higgins, curator from Tamaki Paenga Hira Auckland War Memorial Museum. Four new storyboards, just installed ready for the event, provided a marvellous pictorial record of Sir Ed’s Antarctica and will remain on display until our next open home on 20 October. For one of our trustees, Connie Miller, the birthday had a special significance. She was joined at Hillary House by her father, Bob Pinker, an Antarctica veteran.
The busy week continued as some of the trustees made their way to Wellington for the Sir Edmund Hillary Centenary Committee function at the Beehive. We were fortunate to have with us Mike Roberts, MD of Karcher NZ, which sponsors Hillary House as a Place of National Significance within Karcher’s international cultural sponsorship programme. Olivia Cody-Matheson, Duke of Edinburgh/Hillary gold level student, who contributed an hour a week to the House last year, was also with us.
Everyone enjoyed the presentations by the prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, actor Sam Neill, who was a personal friend of Sir Ed, his children Sarah and Peter Hillary, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Waikato and the poet laureate Selina Tusitala Marsh. All reflected on Sir Ed as New Zealand’s most iconic mountaineer, explorer and philanthropist.