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A new rugby trophy contested by England and New Zealand will honour the late Sir Edmund Hillary, Prime Minister Helen Clark announced today.

The Hillary Shield would honour Sir Edmund's strong links to Great Britain, Helen Clark said.

"He was part of a British expedition when he conquered Mt Everest shortly after the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II."

Speaking at Auckland's War Memorial Museum alongside Lady June Hillary and the chairman of the New Zealand Rugby Union Jock Hobbs, the Prime Minister said the first Hillary Shield match would be at Twickenham on November 29.

Mr Hobbs told those assembled: "I hope Sir Ed will be looking down on this announcement today and will be very happy with it.

"Lady June told me she thought he would be chuffed and I can assure you we are too."

Helen Clark said the wishes of Sir Edmund's family had been "paramount" in the Government's choice of way to commemorate him.

"Sir Ed himself was a humble man. He wanted his legacy to live on through initiatives which related to his charitable work and to outdoor recreation sport and fitness," she said.

As well as the Hillary Shield and a Sir Edmund Hillary Fellowship announced last month, Helen Clark said:

* Sparc would establish a Sir Edmund Hillary Outdoor Recreation Council
* The Young New Zealanders' challenge of the Duke of Edinburgh's Wward will in future incorporate Sir Edmund's name
* The Government would increase its annual grant to Sir Edmund's Himalayan Trust by $60,000 a year to $350,000

New Zealand icon Sir Edmund - the first man to climb Mt Everest - died in Auckland on January 11.

- With NZPA