A woman who had a Himalayan peak named after her has died in Kathmandu.

Elizabeth (Liz) Hawley served as New Zealand's Honorary Consul in Nepal for more than 20 years and played a key role in the New Zealand Himalayan Trust for more than five decades.

She died on January 26 at the age of 94 prompting the Himalayan Trust to describe her as a "truly remarkable person who lived a long life most interestingly".

The close friend of Sir Edmund Hillary left her home in the United States in 1960 to work as a journalist in Kathmandu, at a time when Nepal had only just opened its doors to foreigners.


As a reporter covering stories on the royal family, politics, and the mountaineering expeditions, Hawley quickly became part of the Kathmandu scene, socialising with expats, diplomats, business leaders and royals. Kathmandu remained her home for the rest of her years.

Although having never ventured to Everest Base Camp, Hawley became an important figure in Himalayan climbing.

She reported on mountaineering expeditions and it became custom of expedition leaders to pay her a visit and discuss their plans, and later, if they were successful to report on their climb.

Hawley would eventually become celebrated as the unofficial chronicler of Himalayan expedition climbing. Through the Himalayan Database, she has logged the ascents of all major peaks within Nepal. She made firm friends with many of the most famous climbers, including Messner, Bonington, Humar, Viesturs and of course, Hillary.

When Hillary officially formed the Himalayan Trust in 1966, he realised he needed a representative in Kathmandu. Hawley was exactly the right person. She knew her way around Nepalese government departments and she successfully negotiated and secured the various permits and agreements Hillary needed for his projects building schools and hospitals.

Hillary described Hawley as a god-send.

"She was our executive officer and supervised our programmes and finances with remarkable common-sense and wisdom. Our Sherpa staff admired and respected her, as we did, and they worked together as a most respected team."

Hawley also played a vital role in getting the Sagarmatha National Park Project off the ground.


In 2014 the government of Nepal named a peak after Hawley in recognition of her contribution to the mountaineering industry. Hawley was far from impressed: "I thought it was just a joke. It should be a joke. Mountains should not be named after people."

She was awarded the Queen's Service Medal for Public Services from the New Zealand government in 2004.