Medals given out to mark Ever­est Day

Central Leader - - NEWS - By JENNY LING

More than a dozen New Zealand moun­taineers who sum­mited Mt Ever­est will re­ceive their medals dur­ing the in­au­gu­ral Ever­est Day.

The free event, at Western Springs on June 1, will com­mem­o­rate the first suc­cess­ful as­cent of the world’s high­est peak by Sir Ed­mund Hil­lary and Ten­z­ing Nor­gay on May 29, 1953 – 61 years ago to­mor­row.

It is be­ing or­gan­ised by the New Zealand arm of the Non-Res­i­dent Nepali As­so­ci­a­tion.

As­so­ci­a­tion pres­i­dent Chakra Thapa says about 40 New Zealan­ders who have climbed Ever­est will also be hon­oured.

The or­gan­i­sa­tion hopes to give 15 of the moun­taineers medals from the Nepalese govern­ment.

Medals are usu­ally col­lected by climbers in Kath- mandu af­ter they sum­mit but these medals were out­stand­ing and were sent by the Nepal em­bassy to the as­so­ci­a­tion, Thapa says.

‘‘Moun­taineers around the world can ben­e­fit from their ex­pe­ri­ences,’’ he says.

‘‘The day is very im­por­tant to the people of New Zealand and Nepal as the re­la­tion­ship be­tween these two coun­tries es­tab­lished and strength­ened af­ter the his­tor­i­cal union be­tween two sum­mi­teers.’’

The event is usu­ally cel­e­brated in Nepal at the end of each climb­ing sea­son.

In Auck­land, it will in­clude a speech by Sir Ed­mund Hil­lary’s son Peter Hil­lary of Ep­som, who reached the top of Ever­est twice, in 1990 and 2002.

More than 4000 climbers have sum­mited Ever­est – also known as Cho­mol­ungma – since it was first con­quered by Hil­lary and Nor­gay.

But it was what Hil­lary did af­ter Ever­est that was per­haps the most sig­nif­i­cant.

The for­mer bee­keeper from Tuakau built and ran 42 schools, hos­pi­tals and med­i­cal clin­ics in the Ever­est re­gion.

‘‘When Hil­lary climbed Ever­est he started a very close re­la­tion­ship be­tween Nepal and New Zealand,’’ Thapa says.

‘‘Be­cause of him we got a lot of help. He helped a lot of Sherpa chil­dren. That’s a very im­por­tant part.’’

There will also be one minute’s si­lence to hon­our the 16 Sher­pas killed in the dead­li­est avalanche on Ever­est on April 18 of this year.

Moun­tain climb: Peter Hil­lary with Ten­z­ing Sherpa in front of the Khumbu Ice­fall in 2010.

Chakra Thapa

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