TOP 200 AWARDS Designworks Enterprise IG Visionary Leader

Sir Edmund Hillary
Sir Edmund Hillary is both an inspirational and visionary leader. He is an iconic New Zealander who leveraged his vision to generate enormous good off the back of truly inspirational and significant personal achievement. That is how this year’s Top 200 judges explained their choice of recipient of the 2004 Designworks Enterprise IG Visionary Leader Award.
Sir Edmund was born in 1919 and raised in Tuakau, south of Auckland. He was educated at Auckland Grammar School where, in the sixth form, he went on school trip to Ruapehu and got his first taste of snow and mountains.
After two years at university and service in the Royal New Zealand Airforce he joined the family bee-keeping business from which he kept hiving off to the mountains.
Sir Edmund completed many successful climbs in New Zealand’s Southern Alps and then in 1951 he travelled to the Himalayas. Two years later he was invited to join the 1953 British Everest Expedition with fellow New Zealander George Lowe. The rest, as they say, is history.
In the late 1950s he travelled overland to the South Pole as part of 50-year anniversary of the polar journeys of Robert Scott and Ernest Shackleton. Then in 1961 he spent winter at 19,500 feet in the Himalayan mountains for scientific research study to understand how the human body adjusts to living for sustained periods in thin air.
These years saw the beginning of new focus in Sir Edmund’s life. He responded to request from Sherpa friend to build school in the Himalayas for Sherpa children, the first of which was opened in Khumjung in 1961 with 40 eager pupils on its roll. Sir Edmund’s Himalaya Trust has, over the intervening years, completed scores of aid projects with the Sherpa people, built schools, hospitals, clinics, bridges and airstrips, repaired and rebuilt monasteries, recruited voluntary doctors, trained and equipped teachers and nurses and provided tertiary scholarships for Sherpa youth.
In the 1970s Sir Edmund convinced the Nepalese and New Zealand governments to establish national park in the valleys below Everest. Today Sagarmatha is the only national park in the world in which people carry out their normal lives and it is now UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Sir Edmund has been called the extraordinary, ordinary New Zealander. “I am,” he says, “a person of modest abilities, but I have great deal of determination. And once started on project that I want to do, I don’t give up easily.”
The Top 200 Awards judges said: “Sir Edmund Hillary is man of vision, international stature and recognition who has been honoured globally. He was appointed New Zealand’s first Ambassador to India. He is an individual around whom we as country attach enormous pride. His very human achievements are inspirational and represent the ultimate in personal accomplishment.”

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