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Paving the way for Sir Ed's funeral

Published: 6:33PM Wednesday January 16, 2008 Source: ONE News

Organisers for Sir Edmund Hillary's State funeral spent much of Wednesday nutting out the finer details ahead of next week's ceremony.
Hundreds are expected to crowd into Auckland's Holy Trinity Cathedral next Tuesday, with thousands more watching on big screens around New Zealand.

Cathedral operations manager, Paul Vahry was always planning on replacing the carpet this year, he just didn't expect he would have to get it done by Monday.

"We'll have carpet people with lighting engineers and television engineers and sound engineers all wanting the same foot of space, so it's all go," Vahry says.

He has roped in friends and family, like his daughter Julia Vahry.

"I think I was swimming and he said 'Julia you're working for me tomorrow so make sure you've got everything ready for Monday and you know text your friends to see if they come in and help'," says Julia.

In St Mary's church, next door to the Cathedral, 200 new squabs are needed for the pews.

Furniture Specialist Raymond Reesby is on the job.

"Every pew is hand-made, bespoke, so you have a different measurement for each seat. So putting squabs on each one of them is quite complex," says Reesby.

The entire operation is proving to be quite complex.

The military and Internal Affairs are keeping their plans under wraps, including the exact route for Sir Edmund's casket and where Sir Edmund's local tribe will welcome it.

"On his arrival we hope there will be a certain space between Ngati Whatua and his casket so that our pouwhiri will be done in a proper cultural way, that we'll have time to karanga - our elders to karanga into the chapel itself," says Puna Tumahai, Kaumatua, Ngati Whatua.

But for now, loose tiles need to be fixed, broken lightbulbs replaced.

"I think they'll still be out with a vacuum cleaner a few minutes before the casket is wheeled into St Mary's by the looks of things," says Paul Vahry.

And they say they will finish, because this is for Sir Edmund, and to let him down is not an option.


And while details for the official funeral service are currently being finalised, a group of Christchurch artists has found a less formal way to remember Sir Ed.

The five spray can graffiti artists dipped into their own pockets to buy the $700 worth of paint required to create a mural in Sir Ed's honour.  Together the group spent more than six hours on their unique artwork.
The work is on a sanctioned graffiti wall in Riccarton and the artists say they have had lots of good feedback.

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