Honorary New Zealand consul in Nepal, mountaineering chronicler Elizabeth Hawley was presented with the Honorary Queen's Service Medal for Public Services (QSM) by the New Zealand ambassador to Nepal, Caroline McDonald, at a function here Wednesday.
Hawley was conferred the medal by Queen Elizabeth last year and was in recognition of Hawley's "contribution to New Zealand interests in Nepal" since she working in the 1970s to help its dealings in Nepal and assisting Nepali students to study in New Zealand. Hawley also works for the Himalayan Trust, which was set up by Sir Edmund Hillary in 1965 to help education and health projects in Khumbu.
"Miss Hawley has made an outstanding contribution to New Zealand's relationship with Nepal. She has done so in her personal capacity, and through her role as Honorary Consul and her position on the Himalayan Trust. I am pleased that her long years of willing service have been recognised in this way," McDonald said.
Hillary himself described Hawley as "a most remarkable person" and "a woman of great courage and determination".
On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the ascent of Mount Everest, New Zealand increased its support for the Himalayan Trust to $420,000. New Zealand has also pledged $1.5 million for poverty reduction programs in Nepal through UNDP and UNICEF.
Hawley is known internationally as the 'walking encyclopedia of Himalayan mountaineering'. When she first arrived in Nepal in 1959 as a young journalist, she never thought she would stay so long. She was the Kathmandu-based correspondent for Reuters and Time, and covered mainly the mountaineering expeditions. Hawley's database of mountaineering is the product of a lifetime of meticulous interviews, reporting and data collection.