On 22 January 2002 Sir Edmund Hillary, conqueror of Mt Everest with sherpa Tenzing Norgay, was farewelled with a State Funeral at St Mary's Church in Parnell.
On the same day at Middlemore Hospital, a symbolic and spiritual foundation stone, known as a mauri stone, was being buried in the ground of a new building at Middlemore Hospital.
In a serendipitous twist of fate – and a perfect tribute to the great adventurer - the new 240 bed building would be named after Sir Edmund following a staff vote and permission being granted by his family.
The official opening ceremony of the Edmund Hilary building was held on 15 July 2010 and was attended by members of the Hillary family, including Sir Edmund Hilary’s widow, Lady June, and his children Peter and Sarah, as well as then Prime Minister, John Key, and Len Brown, then Manukau City mayor.
In 2016, Sir Edmund Hilary’s grandson, Alexander Hillary, returned to Middlemore Hospital, with his father, Peter Hillary to present four framed photographs that he had composed in his photography class at King’s College.
Peter Hillary: “It galvanises the link with Alexander’s old school, where he developed these skills, with one of Auckland’s most important healthcare facilities that has a new wing carrying his grandfather’s name.”
The photographs are on display in the Hillary Wing at the Hospital, alongside photographs taken by his Sir Edmund during his time in Nepal in the 1950s and 1960s.
Main photo: Left to right: Chas Foxall, then King's College Head of Visual Art and Design, Alexander Hillary, Pam Tregonning, then Executive Director of the Middlemore Foundation, Peter Hillary.
Photo credit: Kings College.