August 10, 2011 / 1:07 AM / 8 years ago

New Zealand names mountain after Everest conqueror Hillary

A guard adjusts a scarf on a statue of late Sir Edmund Hillary in Kathmandu October 12, 2009. REUTERS/Deepa Shrestha

WELLINGTON (Reuters Life!) - New Zealand will name a part of its highest mountain after one of its most famous citizens, Sir Edmund Hillary, the first man to scale Mount Everest, the government said Wednesday.

The South Ridge of Mt. Cook, which is also known by its Maori name Aoraki, will be renamed Hillary Ridge, Land Information Minister Maurice Williamson said.

“Sir Edmund made an enormous contribution to our country and abroad and it is befitting and appropriate that his contribution is acknowledged in this way,” Williamson said in a statement.

Hillary was the first man to use the South Ridge route to scale the 3,754 meter (12,315 ft) Mt. Cook in 1948, five years before his successful ascent of the 8,848 meter (29,029 ft) Mt. Everest with Tenzing Norgay.

After Hillary’s death in 2008 at the age of 88, the government launched a campaign to find an appropriate alpine landmark to be named in honor of one of its most revered citizens.

Reporting by Adrian Bathgate; editing by Elaine Lies

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