Things I like about New Zealand
November 25, 2007
There’s something about Sir Ed. Not only did he knock the bastard off but he stands for something else, something everyman. He’s one of us, even though he’s probably more than any handful of us put together. Strong as an ox (I’ll see if I can find a photo of him as a younger man holding up a dingy with all his kids in it with one hand) and stuffed full of “she’ll be right”.
I saw a documentary once with Peter Hillary talking about his old man and how it finally dawned on him what his father was really like when he almost got to the top of Everest himself for the first time. He looked up at the stretch known as Hillary’s Steps and the only thing that got him up there was knowing that others had done it before him. What was it like for his father, he wondered, who didn’t have that. How strong in spirit must he have been.
Sir Ed is on our five dollar note and he often gets them sent to him in the mail with a request for him to sign it. Sometimes people forget to include the return postage so rather than being pointed and sending them back $4.50 in change, he duly buys a stamp and returns their fiver.
He’s also in the phone book. That’s right, the man who climbed Everest is still listed in the Auckland phone book.
To me that speaks volumes.