i was just out delivering some work and noticed that the flag at tauranga airport was at half-mast. and then i noticed another one further on that was the same. i thought, "who would warrant that kind of respect?" and my first thought was "sir ed hillary". sadly, when i came home to check, it turns out that it was in fact ed hillary who passed away today.
ed hillary was easily the most famous new zealander alive - he and nepalese sherpa tenzing norgay were the first people to reach the summit of mt everest. or as he put it "we knocked the bastard off". he came to personify the typical kiwi bloke - no fuss, just get the job done sort of attitude.
he was an all-round adventurer and travelled to the north and south poles - the first man to achieve the everest, south pole, north pole trifecta. he was also a humanitarian, tirelessly working for the nepalese people. tragically, nepal claimed the lives of his wife and daughter in a plane crash in 1975.
it's sad that he's passed away - it's a loss for new zealand. at 88 he had a good innings, and will always be considered a legend.
[image from wikipedia]