Kiwis are used to Aussies claiming their finest, but not the Poms.
But England’s Daily Telegraph newspaper is now celebrating Mt Everest’s conqueror Sir Ed Hillary as a “great Briton”.
The Telegraph editorial celebrates Major Tim Peake being set to be Britain’s first official astronaut – though he’s going to have to wait until 2015 for his five-month stint on the International Space Station.
While doubting Maj Peake can match the impact of Canada’s singing space oddity Chris Hatfield, the Telegraph says “it is reassuring to see someone following the path of those great Britons, from Drake to Livingstone to Hillary, who have set their sights on new frontiers”.
Sir Ed was part of a British expedition when he scaled Mt Everest with Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay, but he was born and raised in New Zealand.
The claiming of Kiwis as Aussies, from Phar Lap and pavlova to Split Enz and Australian Idol winner Stan Walker, is a well-worn tradition. But it’s much harder to find the Brits doing the same thing.
Ernest Rutherford is described on Encyclopedia Britannica’s website as a “New Zealand-born British physicist”, but he’s usually acknowledged as a New Zealander.
Even the hero of the Battle of Britain, Sir Keith Park, is routinely described as a New Zealander.
Apart from them, it’s usually expat Kiwi rugby players like Lions squad members Sean Maitland, Dylan Hartley and Mako Vunipola who earn the dubious distinction as Brits.
It is presumed the Telegraph piece refers to Sir Ed and not that other well-known Brit searching for new frontiers, Hillary Clinton.