Key Points:

2:10 pm:

Live television coverage of the funeral finishes as the procession passes the Hillary family home on Remuera Road. The cortege will continue to Purewa Cemetery for a private cremation.

2:04 pm:

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Bars on Khyber Pass Road and Broadway, Auckland, closed their doors as a mark of respect for Sir Edmund Hillary as his funeral cortege passed.

Punters from the hotels and bars came out onto the streets to watch the hearse. Applause rippled around Khyber Pass Rd and Broadway as the body of Sir Edmund Hillary was carried on its final journey to Purewa Cemetery.

Shops are now beginning to slowly open their doors and crowds dispersing.

2:01 pm:

A police guard stands watch at the top of Sir Edmund and Lady June Hillary's driveway on Remuera Road, where dozens of mourners have gathered.

The cortege will shortly turn off Broadway onto Remuera Rd, where Sir Edmund will pass his family home of 50 years for the very last time.

2:00 pm:

Spontaneous clapping has broken out among the crowds lining Broadway and Remuera Road, Auckland as the hearse passes them on its way to Purewa Cemetery.

Crowds in the middle of Newmarket - where the shops are closed out of respect for Sir Edmund - are standing up to four to five deep watching the passing funeral cortege.

1:50 pm:

The funeral cortege is travelling down Khyber Pass to Broadway, where children are throwing flowers at the hearse.

1:37 pm:

Hundreds of people have lined the roads of Auckland's Domain and are applauding as the hearse passes. Dave Dobbyn's

Loyal

is playing over a PA system along the route.

1:35 pm:

Over 1000 people are lining the main street of Newmarket's shopping centre, from the bottom of Remuera Road to the bottom of Khyber Pass in expectation of Sir Edmund's funeral recession passing through.

1:25 pm:

Up to 300 people have lined the route that Sir Edmund Hillary's funeral cortege will take along Khyber Pass Rd to Newmarket, Auckland, on the way to a private cremation at Purewa Cemetery.

Most are huddled under shelters against the rain, waiting patiently for the hearse to pass.

Among them is Wendy Reid, who went to Nepal last year, on a trip.

She said that it wasn't until she saw Everest up close that she fully comprehended the awesome achievement of Sir Edmund in climbing it, especially with 1950s equipment.

But she also singled out his work in helping the people of Nepal through building schools, bridges, hospitals and landing strips, as being a mark of the man.

1:22 pm

Dozens of Hillary College students perform the rousing haka

He Maunga Teitei

(the Lofty Mountain). The translated words are "look towards the far horizons people of the world. Mourn for the mighty kauri has fallen. He has gone, but his legacy lives on. A lofty mountain who never bowed."

The casket now passes from St Mary's Cathedral to the courtyard of Holy Trinity Cathedral, where it is placed in a waiting hearse.

1:20 pm:

At the Viaduct, many in the crowd watching the funeral on big screens are tourists from the surrounding hotels and cruise ships in Auckland.

Among them was Mary Arnold, an American tourist, who flew in to Auckland yesterday and came to the Viaduct to be part of the commemorations.

Her mother had been on an American fundraising trust raising money for various Hillary projects in Nepal.

"We didn't think of him as a Kiwi, he was an international figure.

"He was a man of the world."

1:18 pm:

Sergeant Mansfield Murray plays

Abide With Me

on bagpipes as the casket is led out of the cathedral, under a guard of honour formed with long-handled ice axes by the New Zealand Alpine Club.

1:18 pm:

At the Auckland Domain there was a break in the rain and, in a very emotional scene, the thousands present stood and sang the national anthem as one.

Few people have left, instead choosing to stay and watch Sir Edmund's coffin leaving the church.

1:12 pm:

The congregation continues standing as the Bishop of Auckland blesses them and the casket is prepared for the recession.

Military officials from the air force, army and navy serve as pallbearers and carry out the casket.

1:10 pm:

Phillip O'Shea, New Zealand Herald of Arms Extraordinary to Her Majesty the Queen, lists the many honours Sir Ed accumulated - the related decorations and medals were displayed alongside the casket, including the Order of the Garter, Orders of Merit and honorary doctorates, before the congregation stands to sing the national anthem.

1:05 pm:

The Bishop of Auckland says a final prayer and blessing, before leading the congregation in the Lord's Prayer.

1:04 pm:

The heavens have opened at the Auckland Domain, where over 3000 people are watching Sir Edmund's funeral on a huge single screen.

Depsite the rain, no one has left the grounds though many have sought shelter under trees.

There has been much laughter amongst those gathered at the stories told during the funeral, with applause breaking out after a number of the speeches.

12:55 pm:

Ben Makisi performs Handel's

Where e'er you walk

.

12:44 pm:

Dean of Christchurch Peter Beck farewells Sir Edmund.

12:42 pm:

Small groups of families are gathering in the Auckland suburb of Newmarket because they want to 'witness his history'.

Sir Edmund's funeral procession will travel through the suburb on its way to Purewa Cemetery. The families have grabbed the best vantage points, with some saying they want their children to witness this moment in history.

12:40 pm:

At the Auckland Domain, many in the crowd openly cried at the eulogy of Sam Mulgrew, Sir Edmund Hillary's grandson.

When Sam Mulgrew's voice cracked at the end of his speech, many in the 3000-strong crowd openly wept.

The crowd has grown steadily during lunchtime and, so far, the threatening rain has stayed away.

There have been tears and laughs as some of the speakers, beamed from the nearby St Marys church at Trinity Cathedral, Parnell to the big screens at the Auckland War Memorial Museum, told lighter stories of life with Sir Edmund.

12:38 pm:

Jim Wilson speaks about his friendship with Sir Edmund, and his immense loyalty and sense of fun.

"His little boy enthusiasm for life and adventure was irresistable.

"He loved having a laugh even if it was at himself."

12:34 pm:

Norbu Tenzing Norgay:

"I still remember when I was young, first hearing the story of how my father and Sir Ed had clim Everest...I was enthralled."

"When sherpas heard the news of his death, their grief spiralled into mourning only comparible to the death of a parent.

"Among sherpas, he is reverred."

12:28 pm:

Three friends of Sir Edmund speak; Ang Rita Sherpa, Norbu Tenzing Norgay and Jim Wilson.

"He is so much mean to us and his loss to us is bigger and heavier to us than Mt Everest," said the sherpa.

"Sherpa people living in the tiny villages of Nepal mourn heavily today."

"It is impossible to describe all the work he has done for us in Nepal... He is an ideal and inspiration for everybody."

12:25 pm:

In Wellington, the crowd has begun to swell as people take time from lunch to watch Sir Edmund's funeral on the big screen in the Wellington Town Hall.

There was much laughter at the anecdotes told by Sir Edmund's son, Peter Hillary, about life in the Hillary household and growing up with a man revered and recognised around the world.

Some in the audience are remaining for the entire funeral. Others, are coming in for a few minutes to pay their respects then leaving.

12:22 pm:

Violist Gillian Ansell plays Bach in Louise Hillary's honour.

12:16 pm:

Sam Mulgrew, Sir Edmund's grandson speaks.

"He was a real family man. Throughout my whole life, even up to a coupole of weeks ago at Christmas, there was nothing he liked more than having a gang of people around him, having a good time."

"The word modest has always been used to describe him... He practised what he preached and was the very embodiment of the word."

12:15 pm:

Peter Hillary's eulogy continues and he speaks of the life lessons he learned from his father.

"I did learn from my father never to wait for things to happen, you might be waiting an awfully long time.

But the most important thing I learned from him, is don't be afraid to stand alone."

Peter Hillary speaks of his father's high personal standards and the time he was asked by an advertising agency to promote a breakfast cereal.

Sir Edmund did not like that particular brand of cereal, and told the agency so.

The advertising man assured Sir Edmund that was not a problem, he just needed to say the lines. It didn't matter if he liked the cereal.

"Unfortunately," replied Sir Edmund, "it matters to me."

Peter also speaks of his father's sense of humour.

When an interviewer told Sir Edmund he was a very modest man, he replied "I've got a great deal to be modest about."

Video footage of Peter at the summit of Mt Everest on a satellite phone to his father is shown.

11:56 am:

Around 3000 people are quietly watching the funeral of Sir Edmund on one huge screen in the Auckland domain.

People of all ages and from all walks of life are spread out from the entrance to the museum over several hundred metres.

Small pockets of people have stood for hymns and prayers, with many people now lying under sun umbrellas.

11:55 am:

Peter Hillary remembers his childhood and family travels.

"Growing up in the Hillary family, was quite an adventure... Adventure was compulsory.

"There was even fear, where was Dad going to take us in the upcoming school holidays?"

"Our trips to Nepal were wonderful adventures... These were wonderful experiences and I really commend this sort of thing to anyone. They were totally shared experiences - father, mother and three kids sharing truuly wonderful times."

Video archive footage of a young Sir Edmund is shown, reading a letter about the plight of the Nepalese in 1964.

11:49 am:

Sir Edmund's grandson reads a poem by Sir Edmund's first wife Louise Hillary, before their daughter Sarah speaks of her father and her first visit to Nepal.

"It was a terrible shock to realise he was also very fragile. When I saw him in Kathmandu after my mother and sister had died, it was like eveything had been zapped out of him and my world crumbled."

His daughter Sarah Hillary has recalled family life with Sir Edmund.

She spoke of how as a ten year old she went with the family to Nepal and was struck by the "strangeness of it all" but the friendship the Nepalese people had for Sir Edmund was extended to the family as week.

She recalled seeing all the work that had been performed by Hillary's Himilaya Trust, building landing strips, schools, bridges and tree planting for regeneration.

People he worked with would become friends, she recalled. But, she warned, people had to have a sense of humour.

"Ed loved to laugh and his dry wit was irresistible."

She recalled Sir Edmund's organisation and meticulous planning for all his travels.

But she also said that his adventures posed a difficulty for her when she went to primary school.

"Asked what my father did as a job, I was unable to find an answer," she said.

Poignantly, she recalled the tragic plane crash in which Sir Edmund's wife, June, and sister, Belinda, were killed in Nepal.

She said that she saw how the blow sapped the life from him "and he collapsed" but his energy, determination and the support and love of friends pulled him back.

By the end of his life, Sarah said that he was happy, relaxed and was able to say that he "had a good life".

Sir Edmund's granddaughter reads Haiku 1 by Hone Tuwhare.

11:45 am:

Retailers in Auckland's Newmarket shopping centre are preparing to shut their doors in anticipation of Sir Edmund's funeral party passing through the suburb, en route to nearby Purewa Cemetery.

A manager from the local Hallensteins store said numerous people had come in asking what time the funeral procession would pass by.

The funeral procession is expected to pass through the area just before 1pm. A sizeable crowd is expected to line the streets over the next hour.

11.40am:

Prime Minister Helen Clark stands to read a tribute to Sir Edmund, "the most famous New Zealander of our times."

Speaking of his ascent of Everest, Ms Clark said: "He went there with attitude, with a clear goal, with courage and with a determination to succeed."

She said he was "an inspiration and a role model for generations of New Zealanders."

"Prior to Sir Ed's conquest of Everest, the mountain had been described as the third pole... Reaching the summit was considered to be beyond mortals."

Ms Clark described Sir Edmund's ascent of Mt Everst as "one of the defining moments of the 20th century".

Speaking of his charity work in Nepal, Ms Clark said: "Sir Edmund Hillary's extraordinary life has been an inspiration to our small nation and so many beyond our shores too. As individuals we may not be able match his ability and strength but surely we can all match his humanity."

11:40 am:

More than 300 people are watching the service on large screens at the Wellington Town Hall on a windy but sunny day.

As they waited for the funeral to begin, the atmosphere was warm with occasional laughs at the lighter comments from TVNZ's Mark Sainsbury and Simon Dallow beamed live on the screen.

But the atmosphere was quiet and subdued, with some people crying as the service got under way. Most appeared to have taken time from work to go to the Town Hall.

11:34 am:

Reading - Matthew 5, verses 1 to 10 by Himilayan Trust chairmand and friend of Sir Edmund, Larry Witherbee.

And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain, and when he was set down, his disciples came unto him.

And opening his mouth he taught them, saying

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

The poor in spirit... That is, the humble; and they whose spirit is not set upon riches.

Blessed are the meek: for they shall possess the land

.

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

Blessed are they that hunger and thirst after justice: for they shall have their fill.

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Blessed are the clean of heart: they shall see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

The congregation sings the hymn,

The Lord is my Shepard

.

11:29 am:

The Choir of the Auckland Cathedral of the Holy Trinity perform.

11:27 am:

Governor General Anand Satyanand reads Ecclesiastes, chapter 3, verses 1 to 8.

To everything there is a season, and
a time to every purpose under the heavens;

A time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, and a time to pluck
up that which is planted;

A time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a
time to build up;

A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

A time to cast away stones, and a
time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to
refrain from embracing;

A time to get, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

A time to rend, and a time to sew;
a time to keep silence,
and a time to speak;

A time to love, and a time to hate;
a time of war, and a time of peace.

11:21 am: One of Sir Edmund's favourite hymns, How Great Thou Art, is performed by Dame Malvina Major.

11:20 am: A silent prayer is observed, before the Bishop leads the congregation in prayer.

11:20 am: About 200 people have gathered in the Sir Edmund Hillary Alpine centre in the Mt Cook Village, where the great climbing career of Sir Edmund began, to farewell the great man.

Climbers and guides, who considered him a friend and mentor, were among those who gathered for the service which included a buddhist prayer by local sherpas Thurenje and his wife Tshering Sherpa.

Heavy rain and low cloud shrouded the mountain and blocked the view of Mt Cook, forcing the service indoors, but speakers described the conditions as "fitting", calling the rain "tears from heaven".

Alphine Guides Director Bryan Carter said, "it was important for the mountaineering community together for their own service, when so many in the area felt a personal connection to Sir Edmund."

11:15 am: A bell tolls to signify the beginning of the official funeral service, which will be led by the Bishop of Auckland, the Most Reverend John Paterson.

The Bishop greets the guests and explains the significance of the bell which tolled before the service.

The bell was the ship's bell from HMS Endeavour on which Sir Edmund travelled to Anatartica to establish Scott's Base.

The Bishop personally greets Sir Edmund's widow, children and family and thanks them for sharing this private moment with the rest of the country.

11:14 Green Party staff say the Greens were not invited to yesterday's wreath-laying ceremony but Newstalk ZB has reported that the Department of Internal Affairs said all party leaders were invited and the Greens had replied saying a representative would be there.

A spokeswoman for the Greens told NZPA she had so far been unable to find anyone in the Greens who had responded to an invitation.

Newstalk ZB said no one from the Maori Party or New Zealand First attended the service, but Prime Minister Helen Clark and leaders from National, United Future and ACT were there. Green Party co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons and MPs Metiria Turei and Sue Kedgley were in attendance.

11:10 am: The final guests take their seats and a special tribute to Sir Edmund begins, with Tibetan sherpas placing yellow silk scarves on top of the New Zealand flag atop Sir Edmund's coffin, removing their hats and bowing in prayer.

11:05 am: The official party has just arrived at the cathedral, escorted by a police motocade. Prime Minister Helen Clark is greeted by the Dean, followed by Lady June.

Lady June takes her seat next to the Prime Minister and her daughter Sarah.

11:00 am: Sir Edmund's sister and grand daughter wait outside the entrance of the cathedral for Lady June and her children Peter and Sarah.

Inside, Tibetan monks sit alongside local dignitaries, politicians, military officials and Sir Edmund's personal friends.

10:58 am: Herald reporter Stuart Dye reports that more than 1000 are at the memorial service in the Auckland Domain, with that number climbing rapidly.

He says the mood is relatively sombre, but there's no sense of sadness with people smiling a lot.

Many people are reminiscing of learning about Sir Edmund at school, of how he came to be on the New Zealand banknotes, and other stories.

The majority of well-wishers came with umbrellas expecting rain, but instead it's blazing sunshine and many people were quickly putting on the sun block before the service began.

10:55 am: Governor General Anand Satyanand has been seated at the front of the cathedral; Prime Minister Helen Clark, Lady June and Sir Edmund's extended family are yet to arrive for the service.

Prior to the ceremony, Sir Edmund's favourite music is being played - a selection of works by classical composer Mendelssohn.

10:45 am: The cathedral is largely full except for the front rows, reserved for family and state officials.

Former Prime Minister Jenny Shipley, speaker of the house Margaret Wilson and deputy Prime Minister Michael Cullen are all in attendance, as is Tenzing Norgay's son Norbu Norgay.

Jan Morris, formerly James Morris, has flown to New Zealand to attend the funeral. He was the journalist that first reported Sir Edmund's successful ascent of Everest in 1953.

10:35 am: New Zealanders are gathering in the big centres to watch Sir Edmund's funeral on giant screens. In Wellington rain and gale force winds are forecast for midday, but the ceremony is being screened at the Town Hall in Civic Square.

Crowds are arriving in Christchurch's Cathedral Square for the memorial service which is being relayed on a screen outside. Roads are closed around the square.

At Auckland's Domain, the rain has eased off and many people are seated on the steps of the Auckland War Memorial Museum waiting to view coverage of the funeral. Organisers are expecting up to 20,000 people. Several tour buses with international tourists on board have also arrived. A giant screen has also been erected at Viaduct Basin.

Coverage of the funeral of the climber, explorer and diplomat is being beamed around the world, going to Scott Base in Antarctica and to Nepal TV by satellite link.

10:30 am Dignitaries and guests start filing into St Mary's church in Parnell for the service, due to start at 11am.

10:05 am Prime Minister Helen Clark, who is to lead eulogies at Sir Edmund Hillary's funeral in Auckland today, said he was an ideal of the New Zealand identity.

On Radio New Zealand this morning Miss Clark, who is to escort Lady June Hillary into the funeral, said she would try to explain what Sir Ed meant to New Zealanders.

"In effect I am endeavouring to sum up what New Zealanders felt about Sir Ed," she said.

"I think what we have seen over the past 10 days or so is an outpouring of not just respect and admiration but a real love of what Sir Ed represented.

"He was in so many ways the quintessential Kiwi, people have written about him being the person who New Zealanders most identified with through their psyche... in many ways I think he summed up, he represented the ideal New Zealander for us - brave, courageous, humble, with it, humane, compassionate, service to the community. That's a pretty phenomenal, pretty colossal person."

10:00 am: The global Sherpa community pays tribute to Sir Edmund:
Hillary's presence will continue being felt in Nepali hearts forever. In fact, his loss and legacy is of equal bearing to both New Zealand and Nepal as much as the rest of the global community.

As the world pays tribute to Sir Edmund Hillary who died on January 10, 2008 at the age of 88, we also remember the multi-faceted side of his rich and adventuresome life. But first and foremost, in Hillary's death, the global Sherpa community truly lost a well respected son.

9:45 am: A cross section of politicians have gathered on Parnell Road alongside Buddhist monks and members of the Nepalese community, and about 100 members of the public are standing behind a fenced off area waiting for the service to begin.

Among the politicians looking on are Maori Party co-leader Peter Sharples and National Party MPs Tau Henare and Gerry Brownlee.


9:40 am: About 60 people gathered in heavy rain in Mt Cook's Alpine Memorial this morning, which is a memorial to climbers who have died on the national park.

A wreath was laid in memory of Sir Edmund and other climbers who had died.

9:00 am: Sir Edmund's casket arrives at St Mary's church in Parnell after leaving the Holy Trinity Cathedral, carried by six pall bearers from the armed forces.

8:30 am The last members of the public have filed past the casket of Sir Edmund Hillary as preparations now begin for his official state funeral in Auckland.

The doors at Auckland Holy Trinity Cathedral closed shortly after 8am in Parnell after thousands of people had queued to pay their respects.

The Very Reverend Ross Bay, who will officiate at today's funeral, gave the final prayer to "remember, honour and give thanks for the life of Sir Edmund Hillary" before a moment's silence.

- NZ HERALD STAFF: Stuart Dye, Edward Gay, Paula Oliver, Jeremy Rees,
Oscar Davison, Andrew Koubaridis, Jared Booker/NZPA/NEWSTALK ZB