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Ties with Nepal noted on anniversary

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 28/05/2016

The 63rd anniversary of the ascent of Mount Everest by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay is a time to mark the special relationship between Nepal and New Zealand, Ethnic Communities Minister Peseta Sam Lotu-Iiga says.

"Our two countries started on a special journey on May 29, 1953 when the two men famously, in the words of Sir Edmund, knocked the bastard off," Mr Lotu-Iiga says.

New Zealand mountaineers and the Nepali community are gathering in Christchurch on Sunday to remember Sir Edmund and Tenzing Norgay and to salute New Zealand's mountaineering heroes, Mr Lotu-Iiga says.

Sir Edmund was patron of the Non Resident Nepali Association of New Zealand from 2005 until his death in January 2008.

He set up the Himalayan Trust in the 1960s which has helped bring quality education, safe water, and better healthcare to Nepal.

The trust says on Sunday Aucklander Melissa Fey is tackling the 2016 Tenzing Hillary Everest Marathon from Everest base camp, and ultra-runner Jamie MacKenzie from Scotland will attempt to beat the world record for running the 320km Everest Mail Run from the base camp to Kathmandu.

Both are taking on the challenges to raise money for the trust so it can continue its response to the earthquakes that struck Nepal in 2015. Almost 9000 people were killed in the earthquakes.

The trust's earthquake rebuild programme, now in progress, will help the construction of 120 classrooms, teachers' quarters, student hostels and toilet blocks at 30 schools, including some of the first schools built by Sir Edmund.

"We are in awe of the incredible challenges that Melissa and Jamie are undertaking, and we are deeply appreciative of their generosity and support for the Himalayan Trust," says trust general manager Prue Smith.

Givealittle pages have been set up for the challenges the two runners are taking on.

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