Sir Edmun Hillary's son says producers have done 'terrific job' on TV show

Sir Edmund Hillary leads his tractor train out from Scott Base at the start of a journey to the South Pole. Photo / Trans-Antarctic Expedition
Sir Edmund Hillary leads his tractor train out from Scott Base at the start of a journey to the South Pole. Photo / Trans-Antarctic Expedition

Peter Hillary's enthusiastic after the screening of the first episode of the six-part TV series about his famous dad.

He says producer Carmen Leonard and director Danny Mulheron have done an amazing job telling the story of Sir Edmund Hillary.

The first of six hour-long episodes screened on Sunday night, focusing on Hillary's early life, his school days, angst at eventually defying his pacifist family to go to war and his developing love of climbing.

Peter Hillary told Newstalk ZB the family spent a lot of time talking to Leonard and Mulheron talking about the tone of the story and the personalities of those being portrayed.

"I feel very indebted to them for listening to us and sort of integrating a lot of those components into the story -- I think they've done a terrific job."

Peter Hillary today set out from Piha on a rackety tractor, one of three embarking on a month long journey from Auckland's West Coast to Mt Cook.

The journey is an attempt to raise $1 million to save the now dilapidated Hillary Hut at Scott Base, but it's also a chance for small town New Zealand to acknowledge arguably the country's most favourite son.

The hut, built in 1957 as Sir Ed was preparing for his historic tractor trek from there to the South Pole in defiance of orders not to continue.

The hut, which was the first thing built at Scott Base, is now leaking and needs asbestos removed.

Million dollar drive to help save Sir Edmund Hillary's hut in Antarctica. Photo / Supplied
Million dollar drive to help save Sir Edmund Hillary's hut in Antarctica. Photo / Supplied

Peter Hillary says the tractor trek is a chance to remember his father as the "down to earth and decent man he was".

"I'm very excited about it. It's a little bit like Ed Hillary rides again"

He says they won't be cracking a scorching pace, barely cracking 20 kilometres an hour: "A bit like dad had it down in Antarctica. Slow and steady".

The tractors will be taking back roads, linking in with small communities and towns.

Peter Hillary says the charm of the journey "comes down to the weather you have, the people you meet, all the natural stuff -- the archetypal NZ experience".

Andrew munro as Sir Edmund Hillary in Hillary. Photo / Supplied
Andrew munro as Sir Edmund Hillary in Hillary. Photo / Supplied

Peter Hillary says his father represented something that was truly New Zealand.

"He was a down-to-earth decent guy. He went out and did extraordinary things, not for fame and glory but because actually he wanted to do it. He was excited by it and he enjoyed the company of the people with him on the journey, and I think those are things New Zealanders really hold high."

"It's an important part of what this journey is about. Obviously it's to support dad's hut down there in Antarctica, to maintain it and keep it weather-proof for another 25 years, but this is about interacting with New Zealand and getting New Zealand support."

- Newstalk ZB

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