Published Monday 17 May 2010

MEDIA  RELEASE 17 May 2010For immediate release: The New Zealand Olympic Committee paid tribute to Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay this morning with the announcement that New Zealand athletes would come together in their honour at the Commonwealth Games this year.A unique team identifier has been developed that reflects the achievements of Hillary and Tenzing and athletes will be asked to recall the grit, determination and resoluteness of character that saw the climbers create history on the summit of Mount Everest in 1953. “Our athletes strive for the qualities that made Sir Ed and Tenzing great and we’ll be asking them to draw on those characteristics in Delhi this October,” said Delhi Chef de Mission, Dave Currie.  “Sir Ed went from being a humble bee keeper to standing on the roof of the world. It’s an incredible story and one that will inspire our athletes.”The team mark revealed today features the names Hillary and Tenzing and the number 29028. Developed in conjunction with the Hillary and Norgay families, the mark represents the legacy created on 29 May 1953. 29028 is the height in feet of Mount Everest as reported by the BBC.“Hillary and Tenzing conquer Everest. Mr Hillary described the peak, which is 29,028 feet above sea level, as “a symmetrical, beautiful snow cone summit”...,” read the report that announced the news to the world.The New Zealand Olympic Committee hopes the 29028 campaign will inspire all New Zealanders to remember Hillary and Tenzing and honour them by getting behind the team at the Commonwealth Games this year.“Sir Ed was a great New Zealander,” said Currie. “His achievements are shared by all Kiwis. We’re calling on all Kiwis to get support our team in Delhi and in doing so, honour Sir Ed and Tenzing.” New Zealand Olympic Committee secretary general Barry Maister is delighted the campaign is underway. “Tenzing lived most of his life in India and Sir Ed was High Commissioner to India for many years. He is thought of highly by the people of Nepal and India. With the Commonwealth Games in Delhi this year it was an ideal time to honour two great men.”Sir Edmund’s son, Peter Hillary, said his father would have been both delighted but slightly embarrassed by the honour. “In true Ed fashion he would have asked, ‘isn’t there someone more deserving, more athletic…,” laughed Peter Hillary ,  imagining his famously humble father’s reaction to the honour. The 29028 campaign was announced this morning at Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate in Manukau City where the Queen’s Baton Relay began it’s New Zealand leg this morning. The Queen’s Baton will travel around schools in the South Auckland region over a period of two days before continuing its 190,000 journey from Buckingham Palace in London to the city of Delhi, India. New Zealanders can show their support for Sir Edmund Hillary, Tenzing Norgay and the athletes of the Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games team by visiting www.facebook.co.nz/NZ29028.-       ends  - About Sir Ed “It’s not the mountain we conquer, but ourselves.”

  • Sir Ed was born in 1919 and died in 2008.
  • He went to a small country school just out of Auckland
  • Before he went on to ‘stand on the roof of the world’, Sir Edmund Hillary was a humble bee keeper
  • On May 29, 1953, Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay became the first people to summit Mt. Everest.
  • The height of Everest, as reported by the BBC the day after they summitted was 29,028 feet.
  • He famously told his friend George Lowe, who was part of the larger climbing party, that they’d ‘knocked the bastard off’.
  • In 1958 Hillary became a member of the first team to travel overland to the South Pole since Scott’s expedition in 1912

and the first to travel by motorvehicle to the South Pole – his choice of motorvehicle? A Massey Ferguson tractor.

  • In 1977 Hillary traveled by Hamilton jetboat up the Ganges
  • Hillary made a significant humanitarian contribution to the people of the Himalayas. He established the Himalayan Trust which, with the help of many New Zealand volunteers, raised funds and built schools and hospitals
  •  He was New Zealand’s High Commissioner to India and Ambassador to Nepal in the 1980s.
  • He was known for his humility and generosity and the Sherpa people called him ‘burra sahib’  - big in heart.
  • Sir Edmund Hillary remained close friends with Tenzing Norgay throughout his life.
  • He has been called New Zealand’s most loved national hero

 About Tenzing Norgay“It has been a long road ... From a mountain coolie, a bearer of loads, to a wearer of a coat with rows of medals who is carried about in planes and worries about income tax.”

  • Tenzing Norgay was born in 1914 in Tibet and died in 1986 in India.
  • He was brought up in Khumbu, Nepal, near Mt. Everest
  • Tenzing spent most of his life in India. In 1933 he moved from Nepal to Darjeeling. During the 1940s he lived in Pakistan but he settled back in India again from 1947.
  • As a Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing took part in many attempts to climb Mt. Everest including three with the English and one with the Swiss
  • Tenzing and Hillary were the first team to climb Mt Everest in 1953.
  • Norgay was awarded the George Medal from the British Government for achievements in 1953.
  • Norgay famously stuck an ice axe in the ground at the summit with four flags: of Nepal, India, the UK and the UN.
  • Tenzing became director of field training for the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute in Darjeeling, India.
  • In 1978, he founded the Tenzing Norgay Adventures, a company provided trekking adventures around the Himalayas
  • Also in 1978, the Indian Government created the Tenzing Norgay Award in his honour.

 About the New Zealand Olympic CommitteeThe New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) is an independent organisation responsible for providing inspirational experiences for athletes at the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games and Youth Games.

The NZOC actively promotes the history and values of the Olympic Movement through a wide variety of cultural and educational programmes, and operates according to the Olympic Charter and Commonwealth Games Constitution.

The NZOC is funded principally through corporate sponsorship, trusts, Sport & Recreation New Zealand (SPARC) and the International Olympic Committee.

To find out more about the NZOC please visit www.olympic.org.nzAbout the Baton RelayThe baton’s journey symbolises the unity and shared ideals of the Commonwealth of Nations, and enables communities beyond the Host City to share the Games celebrations. It also serves a functional purpose in carrying Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II’s ‘message to the athletes’ from Buckingham Palace in London to the opening ceremony of the Games.The Queen’s Baton Relay 2010 Delhi commenced from Buckingham Palace, London, on the 29 October 2009. The baton will then travel through all other 70 Commonwealth nations – a historic journey that will cover a distance of more than 170,000 kilometres in 240 days. On its 100 day national tour, the baton will visit the capital of each of India’s 28 states and seven union territories, plus many other cities along the way, covering more than 20,000 kilometres. By the end of its journey, the baton will have traversed over 190,000 kilometres in 340 days, making the Queen’s Baton Relay 2010 Delhi one of the longest relays in the history of the Commonwealth Games.The baton will also have passed through thousands of hands, and travelled by different modes of transport across land, air and sea. The relay will conclude after the final Batonbearer enters the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium during the Opening Ceremony of the XIX Commonwealth Games on 3 October 2010 where Her Majesty’s message will be removed from the baton and read aloud, officially opening the Games.  For more information please contact:Ashley AbbottCommunications ManagerPh: +64 9 3750040 extn 3Mb: +64 21 552021www.olympic.org.nz