There have been further tributes to Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to conquer Mount Everest, who has died aged 88. His historic exploit with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay on the world’s highest peak made him a hero at home in New Zealand and an inspiration for explorers everywhere. He later pursued his adventures and provided help for the people of Nepal.
“I really had a marvellous life. I have had two wonderful wives. You can’t do better than that!” he said, speaking in 2002. “I have had a very good life and an exciting one – many good adventures.”
Sir Edmund Hillary died after suffering a heart attack. Well-wishers paid their respects outside his home in Auckland.
Among the words of tribute, New Zealand’s Deputy Prime Minister, Michael Cullen, said: “I think his legacy will be to have helped our national identity be created. He put New Zealand on the map to a very significant extent with the conquest of Everest in 1953 and continued that work and was seen, I think, in the rest of the world, as the kind of archetypal New Zealander.”
Another tribute, from Australia’s acting Prime Minister Julia Gillard, expressed the thoughts of many. “Sir Edmund’s name is synonymous with adventure, with achievement, with dreaming, and then making those dreams come true,” she said.