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Lady Hillary unveils tribute to Sir Edmund

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The specially-commissioned Craig Primrose portrait marks the village’s 10th anniversary


Lady June Hillary has unveiled a beautiful new painting of her late husband at a stunning ceremony at Edmund Hillary Retirement Village in Remuera.

Lady Hillary and portrait artist Craig Primrose were welcomed along with Ryman Healthcare’s chief executive Gordon MacLeod by students from Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate who performed a stirring powhiri and haka.

It was a double celebration for the village which was celebrating its 10th birthday since opening in 2007.

About 300 residents and visitors packed out the village atrium for the special occasion, with many looking down from the balconies on the two levels above.

Mr MacLeod said what an honour it had been to name the village after the iconic Sir Ed and thanked Lady Hillary for her support of Ryman over the years.

“Sir Ed is arguably the best-known New Zealander ever to have lived, and that is why it was an absolute honour for us to be associated with him in the naming of this village.”

The village was the 15th Ryman retirement village, and building it turned out to be a mountain to climb of a different kind for Ryman’s co-founder Kevin Hickman.

“It is still by far the largest and most ambitious,” said Mr MacLeod.

Mr MacLeod said the village was more than a just collection of buildings however, and thanked the people who live there for making it the wonderful community it is today.

“From the start there has been a fantastic community spirit about this place – it is great to see it alive and well today."

Mr MacLeod also gave special mention to the 45 residents who have lived at the village since it opened 10 years ago and several staff members who’ve been there since the beginning too.

“Each time I come here I always get a warm welcome and I always leave knowing that’s because you (the residents) are in great hands.”

Ryman decided to celebrate the village’s 10thbirthday with the unveiling of Sir Ed’s portrait, which is the second in a series of paintings the company has commissioned Craig Primrose to produce of all its village namesakes.

The first, of motor racing legend Bruce McLaren, was unveiled at Ryman’s Howick village by Bruce’s sister Jan McLaren in August.

Craig, who was Sir Ed’s preferred artist and friend for 14 years, has had a long connection with the village since his parents moved in a few years ago and his mother Fay was at the celebration today.

Mr MacLeod praised Craig’s ability to capture all the incredible qualities that made Sir Ed so beloved by his fellow New Zealanders and around the world.

“I am thrilled that the village now has its own portrait of Sir Ed to put on show, and that Lady Hillary is here to witness it,” he said.


About Ryman Healthcare:
Ryman was founded in 1984 and has become one of New Zealand’s largest listed companies. The company owns 31 villages which are home to more than 10,000 residents in New Zealand and Australia. Each village offers a combination of retirement living and aged care.

Media advisory:
For further information, photos, interviews or comment please contact Corporate Affairs Manager David King on 03 366 4069 or 021 499 602.

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