25 Mar 2009

Alpine Centre to house rare Hillary film

9:19 pm on 25 March 2009

Rare film footage of Sir Edmund Hillary preparing for his 1958 expedition to Antarctica will be presented to the Alpine Centre at Aoraki-Mt Cook for safekeeping.

Sir Edmund gained worldwide fame in 1953 as the first man along with climbing companion Tenzing Norgay to conquer Mt Everest.

Five years later, he led the first motorised team to reach the South Pole, driving a modified Massey Ferguson tractor.

Staff clearing a loft at CB Norwood, a Palmerston North farm machinery company which supplied five tractors for the expedition, found the film in February.

CB Norwood general manager Tim Wilkes says the 16mm black and white film, a documentary on the 1958 expedition, is in excellent condition, despite being in the loft for decades.

Mr Wilkes says the decision was made that while the film is part of the company's history, it is a heritage item and should be shared.

Sir Edmund died in an Auckland hospital from heart attack in January last year. He was 88 and had been ill for some time.