11 Jan 2009

Board defers naming feature after Hillary

10:45 am on 11 January 2009

New Zealanders have at least another year to submit a proposal on what geographic feature should be named after adventurer Sir Edmund Hillary.

Sunday marks the first anniversary of Sir Edmund's death. He gained worldwide fame as the first person, along with climbing companion Tenzing Norgay, to scale the world's highest peak, Mt Everest.

The Geographic Board is responsible for naming places in New Zealand, the Ross Dependency in Antarctica and undersea features of New Zealand's continental shelf.

It says it has deferred naming a feature after Sir Edmund so that everyone can have time to think about what would best reflect his iconic status.

Sir Edmund had two geographic features named after him during his life - the Hillary Coast south of Ross Island, and the Hillary Canyon under the Ross Sea.

Board member Kay Booth says it has received three formal proposals to date.

They are: an unnamed mountain in the Two Thumb Range, a mountain in the Remarkables Range and changing the name of Mt Aspiring Ti Ti Tea.

Ms Booth says Mt Aspiring Ti Ti Tea is a statutory name under the Ngai Tahu claims settlement and the tribe would need to be consulted about any possible name change.

Once proposals are in, a short list will be drafted and submitted for public consultation, as well as input from the Hillary family.

Ms Booth says more than one geographic feature may be named after Sir Edmund.