Up and down the country thousands have signed books of remembrance for Sir Edmund Hillary. Hundreds of thousands paid their respects to him as the country mourned at his state funeral.
Sir Edmund left his mark in so many ways it's easy to see the obvious legacies. But after his death letter writers returned again and again to one theme - his service to his fellow man. Said one:
In this time of brands and marketing men, when we speak of sponsors and earnings and brand value, he spoke of honour, integrity, courage, passion and strength.
From London another wrote: How proud every Kiwi should be when we think of the amazing humanitarian deeds Sir Ed achieved in his lifetime too!
And from Italy: Farewell to a man who made the history of alpinism and spent his life to help other people. I won't forget you.
Could it be that with his death Sir Ed left another legacy - one that isgradually awakening among us? Are the qualities he showed in his life - courage, humility and compassion - the very ones we need most now? Could his example of altruism in action help reassess the way we live?
One last letter writer to the New Zealand Herald summed up some of this when she wrote:
Sir Ed did more than reach the summit of Mt Everest. I suspect that when he conquered that mountain, he conquered himself - and that is an 'Everest' that we all need to climb and could well do with his ongoing inspiration in trying to achieve it.