The Gorkhali Ladies’ Group stole the show with a stunning performance to mark the inaugural ‘Everest Day’ at the Ryman village named in honour of Sir Edmund Hillary.
The Ladies Group, made up of nine Nepali caregivers from Edmund Hillary Retirement Village, entertained a large crowd gathered for a charity fundraiser in their village centre on Saturday night.
The party was organised by Sir Edmund’s charity, The Himalayan Trust, and was hosted by Sir Ed’s grandson Alexander Hillary, with guest speaker Peter Hillary, Sir Ed’s son.
It was the inaugural ‘Everest Day’ fundraiser to celebrate the May 29 ascent of Everest by Sherpa Tenzing Norgay and Sir Ed.
Sir Ed used his fame to establish the Himalayan Trust in 1960 to repay the kindness of the Nepali people, and he built 42 hospitals and schools in Nepal during his lifetime.
Peter Hillary said it was the Himalayan Trust’s mission to continue Sir Ed’s work in Nepal, where people live on less than $3 a day.
“Everest Day is the Himalayan Trust’s main fundraiser. We’re asking everyone to give a fiver for the trust to continue his work.’’
Peter Hillary said COVID-19 had been an absolute tragedy for Nepal. The country shares a border with India and has been particularly hard hit by the virus, with more than 500,000 cases.
“Until countries like Nepal are safe none of us will be safe,’’ Peter said.
Caregiver and dancer Ichchha Koirala said the Ladies were delighted to take part.
“We learned all about Sir Ed in school and to be able to take part in an event raising funds for Nepal is a great honour for us. It was wonderful to meet his family and to represent our nation.’’
The evening included a charity auction with artwork by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, and Sir Ed memorabilia including a signed $5 note and an ice axe going up for grabs.
Some items fetched as much as $5,000 and village residents were among the bidders.
The money raised will be used by the Himalayan Trust to provide access to quality education, healthcare services and access to clean and health water.
Village manager Dean Jackson said it was a brilliant night and the village hopes to host it again in the future.
The idea to enlist the help of the village’s Nepali caregivers came from Resident Services Manager Janine Aitken, and the Gorkhali Ladies’ Club had a lot of fun rehearsing and were now likely to become a fixture of life at the village.
The Gorkhali Ladies featured Ichchha Koirala, Bedika Thapa, Rohini Gurung, Dhanju Rana, Manisha Baniya, Iskima Bhandari, Poonam Singh, Reena Waiba, Pratima Ghimire and Bna Pun Gurung.