NZ FLAG FACT NUMBER 27
Sir Edmund Hillary flew the Union Jack when he, along with Tenzing Norgay, completed the first successful ascent of Mount Everest on 29 May 1953 He and Norgay also raised two other flags—the United Nations and Nepalese flags.
Hillary was part of the British Mount Everest Expedition led by the British colonel, John Hunt. News of Hillary and Norgay’s deed were conveyed to London in time for the world to be notified on the morning of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II (2 June 1953).
Eleven of the fifteen-strong mountaineering party that aided Hillary were from the United Kingdom and two were from New Zealand (Hillary and George Lowe), with Norgay and Sherpa Annullu having come from Nepal.
British newspaper the Daily Express reported: ‘Everest was conquered by a New Zealander. What could be more joyfully appropriate than such a reminder that the spirit of old Britain has spread through the whole of the young Commonwealth?'
Keith Holyoake, who became New Zealand’s prime minister for three months in 1957 and between 1960 and 1972, remarked that Hillary ‘has put the British race and New Zealand at the top of the world. And what a magnificent coronation present for the Queen.
From New Zealand Flag Facts by historian Malcolm Mulholland. Read more at: