What is the mark of a good man? There are many things you can do in your life to make yourself a good man/woman. There have been many great New Zealanders, Ernest Rutherford the "father" of nuclear physics; Kate Shepard, gave woman the vote in 1891.
In May 29 1953, a man named Edmund Hillary was the first man to successfully scale Mt Everest and climbed down to tell the tale. He was later knighted by the then newly crowned Queen Elizabeth II on June the 6th, only 8 days after he climbed Everest. In 1957 he helped to found Scott Base in Antarctica. However, arguably his most notable achievement was founding the Himalayan Trust, which in turn helped build numerous schools, hospitals and roads in the Sherpa region of Nepal. In New Zealand we honored him in 1992 by putting him on the $5 note, the only ever living (at that time) New Zealander to be presented on our money.
If we thought he was a Legend, the Nepalese thought he was a living god. Fathers tell their son's the story of Sir Ed, not only of his achievements but his selfless contributions to the Sherpa people. Sherpa's have followed in his footsteps by climbing to the top of the world. On the 50th anniversary of the first ever ascent the Nepalese Government conferred honorary citizenship upon Hillary at a special Golden Jubilee celebration in Kathmandu. He was the first foreign national to receive such an honour from the Nepalese government.
I stood dumbfounded at the TV when I first heard the news and constantly had goosebumps. I was so sad to hear that he had passed away. NZ citizens are debating how best to honour him. Of course everyone wants an extra holiday but is that really the best way to remember him? By slacking off?
"In some ways I believe I epitomise the average New Zealander. I have modest abilities, I combine these with a good deal of determination and I rather like to succeed."
- Sir Edmund Hillary
I would rather hope, we rename something significant after him and make sure that our children and their children are taught who he was and what he did.
Farewell Sir Ed, we are definitely worse off without you.