EXCLUSIVE: From Everest to Hikurangi

By Te Kāea

The sons of Tenzing Norgay, the famous mountaineer who led and accompanied Sir Edmund Hillary to the summit of Chomolungma (Mt. Everest), will meet with iwi to share and explore the opportunities and challenges that arise with tourism.

Ngāti Porou, Ngāi Tahu, Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Rangi and Ngāti Ruanui will host Norbu Tenzing and his brother Dhamey Tenzing Norgay while in Aotearoa. 

Each iwi has created their own itinerary and will take the time to introduce the brothers to their whānau, maunga and regions. 

Norbu Tenzing is the vice president of the American Himalayan Foundation which supports education, healthcare and cultural and environmental preservation throughout the Himalayas.  He will be joined by his daughter Olivia Tenzing Norgay. 

Dhamey Tenzing Norgay operates adventure travel company, The Noble Traveller, in Bhutan with his wife, Sonam Dorji, who will accompany him on this trip. 

New Zealand Māori Tourism Chief Executive Pania Tyson-Nathan says, “We are honoured to have Norbu and Dhamey and their whānau here in Aotearoa. It is such an incredible opportunity for us to share experiences about how we might engage in tourism ventures that uphold the mana of our mountains. 

“It is a privilege and a great testament to global indigenous tourism that the sons of Norgay Tenzing Sherpa are here to share their story of the mountain and the Sherpa people.”

The Tenzing brothers will watch the first sunrise of their trip on Tuesday, January 22, from Te Takapau o Maui, where the nine whakairo (carved art works), commissioned by Ngāti Porou to mark the 2000, Millennium celebrations, are located on Mt Hikurangi.

2019 is the United Nations Year of Indigenous Languages and, with that in mind, the delegation will ‘call’ Chomolungma (Everest) from Hikurangi to exchange salutations on the significance of maunga to indigenous people’s identity and sense of place.

The brothers’ Sherpa whānau and iwi representatives will converse in their indigenous language as part of Ngāti Porou’s Talking Mountains of the World or Ngā Maunga Kōrerorero o te Ao initiative. 

From the East Coast they will travel to Te Waipounamu and down to Aoraki, where they will be hosted by Ngāi Tahu, before returning to the North Island where they will meet the iwi of Te Kāhui Maunga (the peaks of the Central North): Tongariro, Ngauruhoe, and Ruapehu.

The tour will end at Mt Taranaki to witness a final sunset.