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Expedition South – Saving Sir Ed’s Antarctic Legacy


Media release: Monday 22 August 2016 (Sir Ed Hillary image credit P Reid)

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The Hillary family joins Expedition South calling for New Zealanders to help Sir Ed’s hut in Antarctica. A 2012-kilometre tractor journey, Expedition South, will depart Piha Beach at 8.15am tomorrow (Tuesday, 23 August 2016), tasked with helping to raise $1 million dollars to save Sir Edmund Hillary’s hut in Antarctica.

Sir Ed’s son Peter Hillary will launch the journey, driving one of Expedition South’s three tractors the first kilometre along Piha Beach. “Piha has always been one of our family’s favourite places, our bach is there and, of course, it’s part of the Hillary Trial – it’ll be a poignant moment, particularly given what this Expedition is setting out to achieve,” says Peter.

Expedition South has been put together by the Antarctic Heritage Trust to pay tribute to the historic journey Sir Ed led from Scott Base to the South Pole aboard
Ferguson Tractors, arriving on 4 January 1958. That was the first expedition to reach the South Pole by motor vehicle. Peter Hillary says Expedition South is a remarkable undertaking with two of the three tractors being vintage TE-20s like those that Sir Ed and his team drove. “Expedition South will also travel the same distance as Dad’s team did – 2012 kilometres. And while they won’t have ice and crevasses to contend with, they’re likely to face all sorts of weather and challenges… it’s a long way.” During the journey, Expedition South will be stopping at various schools, Hillary hotspots and events to collect donations from the public. If all goes to plan, the Expedition South team will arrive in Aoraki Mount Cook to finish the journey in sight of the Hillary Ridge on Tuesday, 20 September 2016. Nigel Watson, executive director of the Antarctic Heritage Trust, says the journey aims to raise money to save Scott Base’s first building Hillary’s Hut, also known as Hut A or the Trans-Antarctic Expedition Hut. “This hut is an important slice of kiwi history – it was where Sir Ed wintered over on the Ice in 1957 and from where the historic South Pole expedition began. We have a plan to save it, and the artefacts inside it, and to preserve them for the next 25 years. But it will cost a million dollars to do it.” “We have already raised over half of that and now need New Zealanders to come onboard to help us get closer to our goal. We’re calling on kiwis to give us a fiver – the $5 note has Sir Ed’s face on it and we can’t think of a better use for it than saving his Antarctic legacy,” says Nigel Watson. Peter Hillary hopes New Zealanders will support the project. “Dad’s time in Antarctica and trip to the South Pole were one of his major achievements. He spent a lot of time in that hut – I know he’d be delighted if New Zealand saves it,” says Peter Hillary.

Tuesday, 23 August 2016 – Time Detail

0700 Peter Hillary and Nigel Watson – Executive Director of the Antarctic Heritage Trust and the Expedition South team will be at Piha Beach with the tractors.
0745 Peter Hillary signs the three tractors. A few words from Peter Hillary and Nigel Watson.
0815 Tractors to drive first leg down Piha Beach.
0930 Tractors leave Piha and travel into Auckland via Scott, Terra Nova, Oates and Evans Streets in Glen Eden.
1300 Tractors will travel up One Tree Hill.
1600 Tractors arrive at Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate in Otara. Our preference is for no media here please.

For more information see or contact:
Jo Scott
Great Scott! Communications
021 883 123

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Posted: 23/08/16

Posted By: Margaret McMahon