Edmund Hillary

Biography

Edmund Hillary

Edmund Hillary, 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.

Hillary was a shy child who dreamed of adventure. A secondary-school ski trip to Mt Ruapehu gave him his first taste of the mountains.

After graduating he worked in the family beekeeping business. He joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force in 1944, and began mountaineering, ascending 16 of New Zealand’s tallest peaks. In 1950 he toured Europe and climbed peaks in the Alps.

The following year Hillary was a member of the first all-New Zealand expedition to the Himalayas. He then joined British expeditions in 1952 and 1953. Although they explored several Himalayan mountains, Everest was the goal.

During the 1953 expedition, Hillary and Tenzing Norgay formed a tight team: As other mountaineers fell back, these two forged on. They reached the summit on 29 May, gaining worldwide fame.

From then on, Hillary made his living from public speaking, writing and undertaking further expeditions, inspiring global interest in mountaineering.

In the summer of 1956–57 Hillary led the Antarctic expedition to establish Scott Base.

In 1960 Hillary was determined to help the impoverished Sherpas in the Khumbu region of Nepal, who had put so much effort into his expeditions. He established the Himalayan Trust, which built schools, airfields, bridges, clinics and hospitals in Nepal, and restored Buddhist monasteries.

He became New Zealand’s ambassador to India in 1985, a member of the Order of New Zealand in 1987 and a Knight of the Garter in 1995.

After Hillary's death, his work continued through the Himalayan Trust.

Adapted by Johanna Knox from the DNZB biography by Shaun Barnett

Community contributions

3 comments have been posted about Edmund Hillary

What do you know?

unknown

Posted: 10 Sep 2018

Did you know Hillarys wife and child died in a plane crash

fhdnchf

Posted: 11 Sep 2017

PAUL KINLEY
POSTED: 07 DEC 2016

I was amazed when a ONE Pound share Certificate came up 'Titled Share in Adventure' I snapped it up .It had been folded up and was just starting to deteriorate on the folds so I flattened it and had it sealed in Plastic really for framing .It has been hand signed E P Hillary and G M Ritchie chairman of the appeal committee Dunedin .Issued under the Expeditions common seal 20th March 1956. Unfortunately it has not been numbered so I have no way of telling How many were issued and so far little back ground information .Like if these were cashed later at some stage .It is a very attractive design and I'm curious how to value such a lovely part of History .Not that I'm particularly keen to part with it .Issued to a Lady in Tapanui any information I can find I would appreciate.Sir Edmund was just a Fantastic Kiwi and I'd often wondered how these expeditions were financed .

paul Kinley

Posted: 07 Dec 2016

I was amazed when a ONE Pound share Certificate came up 'Titled Share in Adventure' I snapped it up .It had been folded up and was just starting to deteriorate on the folds so I flattened it and had it sealed in Plastic really for framing .It has been hand signed E P Hillary and G M Ritchie chairman of the appeal committee Dunedin .Issued under the Expeditions common seal 20th March 1956. Unfortunately it has not been numbered so I have no way of telling How many were issued and so far little back ground information .Like if these were cashed later at some stage .It is a very attractive design and I'm curious how to value such a lovely part of History .Not that I'm particularly keen to part with it .Issued to a Lady in Tapanui any information I can find I would appreciate.Sir Edmund was just a Fantastic Kiwi and I'd often wondered how these expeditions were financed .