After a few serious postings I thought it would be good to read the words of a humble New Zealander who ascended the world's greatest peak.
* "We knocked the bastard off" – announcing he and Tensing had reached Everest’s summit.
* "I like to think that I am a very ordinary New Zealander, not terribly bright perhaps but determined and practical in what I do" – at the 50th anniversary
* "I thought, ‘well Ed, me boy, we've done it’." - on reaching the Polar Plateau after leading the first vehicles overland in Antarctica to the South Pole in 1957 and wondering "whether I was heading in the right direction".
* "To be washed gently ashore, maybe on the many pleasant beaches near the place I was born. Then the full circle of my life will be complete." - on why he wanted his ashes scattered in Auckland's Waitemata Harbour
* Nepalese, he said, did not ask for poverty while New Zealanders lived in affluence: "The fact that we do is a blessing, and with it comes responsibilities."
* On becoming a knight: "It was a tremendous honour, of course, but I had never really approved of titles and couldn’t really imagine myself possessing one"
* "I could see myself walking down Broadway, Papakura, in my tattered overalls and the seat out of my pants, and I thought ‘That's gone forever. I'll have to buy a new pair of overalls now'."
* "In some ways I believe I epitomise the average New Zealander. I have modest abilities, I combine these with a good deal of determination and I rather like to succeed."
* To an Indian reporter who asked him if he knew he was seen by many as a god: "Well I know I’m not, so it doesn’t bother me."
* From Hillary’s diary, published in his ‘Nothing Venture, Nothing Win’:
"I continued on, cutting steadily and surmounting bump after bump and cornice after cornice looking eagerly for the summit. It seemed impossible to pick it and time was running out. Finally I cut around the back of an extra large hump and then on a tight rope from Tensing I climbed up a gentle snow ridge to its top. Immediately it was obvious that we had reached our objective. It was 11.30a.m. and we were on top of Everest!"
He describes the landscape below them and continues: "Tensing and I shook hands and then Tensing threw his arms around my shoulders. It was a great moment! I took off my oxygen and for ten minutes I photographed Tensing holding flags, the various ridges of Everest and the general view. I left a crucifix on top for John Hunt and Tensing made a little hole in the snow and put in it some food offerings - lollies, biscuits and chocolate. We ate Mint Cake and then put our oxygen back on. I was a little worried by the time factor so after 15 minutes on top we turned back at 11.45."