The national flag was lowered to half-mast at a ceremony at New Zealand's southern-most outpost today to pay respect to Antarctic pioneer Sir Edmund Hillary.
Staff at Scott Base lowered the flag to half-mast to mourn their hero and inspiration, said Antarctica New Zealand's senior representative at Scott Base, Dean Peterson.
"It was quite a short service, we said a few words and then had a moment of silence before lowering the flag," he said.
The mood of the base had quickly turned sombre as the news of Hillary's death spread.
Plans are being made for a fitting tribute to Sir Edmund, who is truly a hero to many on the ice, which will take place tonight, by which time another 20 visitors to the Antarctic base would have landed.
"This may sound a bit strange," Peterson said this afternoon, "but one suggestion was that we find out what Sir Ed's favourite food was and have that as a dinner for him. It turns out that his favourite food was bangers and mash, which we had for lunch - the chef must have had a premonition."
A service will be held at the nearby United States' at McMurdo Station's chapel on Sunday, he said.
On the Scott Base noticeboard, where news of Sir Edmund's death was first posted, crew from the base have posted photographs of various visits there.
"His memories are all over this place," said Petereson, "there's a climbing axe that we had framed and presented to him last time he was here. He signed it and gave it straight back to put on the wall of the cafeteria."
Sir Edmund's last visit to Scott Base, which he was instrumental in establishing, was only last year.
"Many people were here for his final visit last year, and of course remember him very fondly," said Peterson, who time with the legendary adventurer three years ago.
"It was a very special time," he said. "He was a great gentleman who had a huge amount of tenacity not to mention a lot of willpower and boundless courage. This was in someone incredibly gentle and caring - an extremely rare combination of qualities."
"This is not going to be an easy day for any of us, or any New Zealander," said Peterson.
Antarctica New Zealand Lou Sanson said in a statement this afternoon: "Ed was a towering legend in New Zealand's identity with Antarctica. I was greatly privileged to accompany him to Antarctica on two separate occasions.
"The most recent visit was for the Scott Base 50 year anniversary celebrations where Ed was the centre of attention. He was able to visit the Dry Valleys, the historic huts and spend a night in the A frame hut where he recalled many stories. He was especially popular at Scott Base for sharing his life's stories with others.
"On his last night at Scott Base he was able to entertain the flight crew of a RNZAF P3 Orion who were attached to the squadron which he was member of during the Second World War.
"During an earlier visit to Scott Base in November 2004, Sir Ed gave a talk at the United States McMurdo Station where the entire base turned out to hear his account of the trek to the South Pole as part of the 1957/58 Trans-Antarctic Expedition."