Hillary lives on through trust
When Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay conquered the highest peak in the world they bound New Zealand and Nepal for years to come.
Last week that strong bond was on display when Mahendra Kethet and Pasang Lama Sherpa visited Hillary House at Macleans College.
For the past 14 years Mr Kathet has been the principal of the first school Sir Edmund Hillary built in Nepal.
"Sir Edmund Hillary once said that ‘Khumjung School is my heart' and in that same way the Hillary Himalayan Trust has been our heart."
The Nepalese men are in New Zealand to attend the annual general meeting of the newly named Hillary Himalayan Trust to be held in Christchurch later this month.
Mr Kathet has taught at the school for 36 years and this was his first visit to New Zealand and to Khumjung's sister school.
"Once I read in a book a story about a paradise and I have always felt that New Zealand is that place. It is an imaginary story but this is the real paradise."
Mr Lama, who has visited New Zealand five times, runs the Hillary Himalayan Trust in Nepal.
He says the education and health projects that Sir Edmund Hillary and the trust put in place are still shaping the region.
"He is like an ambassador of God for the Sherpa people, for the people of the mountain and if he had not come or not built these schools the citizens of Solukhumbu would not be living the same.
"Even though Sir Edmund is no longer with us his projects are and his friends are and we are thankful to have that."
Khumjung School was the first major project of the Himalayan Trust and was built in 1961 at an altitude of 3790 metres in the Solukhumbu District.
Over the past 30 years Macleans Hillary House has contributed $100,000 to Nepalese students' education through the trust.
One student who was particularly excited to see the Nepalese pair here was 18-year-old Paul Mockridge.
In April he visited Khumjung in Nepal and was able to see the bond between the two schools and countries laid out in its truest form - brick and mortar.
"To see the plaque, our school's name and Hillary House in Nepal was an amazing feeling."