New Zealand History/Famous New Zealanders

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Famous New Zealanders[edit | edit source]

Sir Edmund Hillary in Poland, 2004.

Edmund Hillary

On the 29th of May 1953, New Zealander Edmund Hillary became the first person to reach the summit of Mount Everest with Nepalese climber Tenzing Norgay (the summit at the time was 29,028 feet above sea level). He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II on his return. Sir Edmund Hillary was famous after news spread he had reached the summit, but he didn't finish at Mount Everest. He led the New Zealand section of the Trans-Antarctic expedition from 1955 to 1958.

In the 1960s, he returned to Nepal to build clinics, hospitals and schools for the Nepalese people. He also convinced their government to pass laws to protect their forests and the area around Mount Everest.

In the 1970s, several books were published by Hillary about his journey up Mount Everest.

Edmund Hillary is one of the most famous New Zealanders, and appears on the New Zealand five dollar note.

He died on the 11th of January 2008.

Ernest Rutherford

Ernest Rutherford was a nuclear physicist who became known as the 'father' of nuclear physics. He pioneered the Bohr model of the atom through his discovery of Rutherford scattering off the atomic nucleus with his Geiger-Marsden experiment (gold foil experiment).

He was born in Brightwater, New Zealand, but lived in England for a number of years.

He received the Commonwealth Order of Merit, the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1908, and was a member of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom and the Royal Society.

Rutherford appears on the New Zealand one hundred dollar note.

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