In 1987 Ed Hillary was among the first 20 people selected as members of the Order of New Zealand (ONZ), this country’s highest honour. He has been the recipient of numerous honours during his lifetime.
Through the 1960s and 1970s Ed Hillary’s life followed a familiar pattern of international travel, lecture tours and fund-raising for Sherpa projects, interspersed with expeditions in the Himalayas, Pacific, Antarctica and New Zealand.
On 29 May – four days before the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II – Hillary and the experienced Sherpa Tenzing Norgay reached the summit of Mt Everest and became the first men to stand on the ‘roof of the world’.
The legendary mountaineer, adventurer and philanthropist – whose familiar, craggy face beams out from the $5 note – is the best-known New Zealander ever to have lived. His ascent of Mt Everest with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay on 29 May 1953 brought him worldwide fame – literally overnight.
After charting the coastline, European surveying and exploration of the interior were a fundamental part of the settlement process, defining the boundaries of ownership and identifying resources, useable land and access routes.