Sir Ed’s gift from Queenstown’

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Queenstown artist Tai Ward-Holmes hopes to raise $50,000-plus for Sir Edmund Hillary’s Himalayan Foundation from this painting of Mt Everest’s first conqueror.

He’s pictured in front of the Queenstown Gardens Scott Memorial, where Ward-Holmes says he was inspired to paint his “gift from Queenstown” on the day Hillary died last January.

A sketch of the acrylic was dedicated at this spot six days later, on the 96th anniversary of explorer Sir Robert Falcon Scott reaching the South Pole.

Ward-Holmes – who’s depicted the “roof of the world”, Mt Everest; New Zealand’s highest peak, Mt Cook; and the South Pole, which Hillary reached by tractor – says the mountaineer’s achievements “have always inspired me, so to give back to his Himalayan Foundation is quite humbling”.

Ward-Holmes is marketing 750 commemorative prints at $550 a pop.