The New Zealand Olympic Committee (NZOC) has paid tribute to the late Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay by announcing that New Zealand athletes will come together in their honour at the Commonwealth Games this year.

A unique team identifier has been developed that reflects the achievements of Hillary and Tenzing and athletes will be asked to recall the grit, determination and resoluteness of character that saw the men create history by climbing Mount Everest in 1953.

"Our athletes strive for the qualities that made Sir Ed and Tenzing great and we'll be asking them to draw on those characteristics in Delhi this October," said Delhi chef de mission Dave Currie.

"Sir Ed went from being a humble beekeeper to standing on the roof of the world. It's an incredible story and one that will inspire our athletes."

The team mark revealed today features the names Hillary and Tenzing and the number 29028. Developed in conjunction with the Hillary and Norgay families, the mark represents the legacy created on 29 May, 1953. 29028 is the height in feet of Mount Everest as reported by the BBC.

"Hillary and Tenzing conquer Everest. Mr Hillary described the peak, which is 29,028 feet above sea level, as 'a symmetrical, beautiful snow cone summit'...," read the report that announced the news to the world.

The NZOC hopes the 29028 campaign will inspire New Zealanders to remember Hillary and Tenzing and honour them by getting behind the team at the Games.

"Tenzing lived most of his life in India and Sir Ed was High Commissioner to India for many years. He is thought of highly by the people of Nepal and India. With the Commonwealth Games in Delhi this year it was an ideal time to honour two great men," NZOC secretary general Barry Maister said.

Sir Edmund's son, Peter Hillary, said his father would have been both delighted but slightly embarrassed by the honour.

"In true Ed fashion he would have asked, 'isn't there someone more deserving, more athletic ?'".

The 29028 campaign was announced today at Sir Edmund Hillary Collegiate in Auckland where the Queen's baton relay began its New Zealand leg.

The baton will travel around schools in the South Auckland region over a period of two days before continuing its 190,000 journey from Buckingham Palace in London to Delhi.

- NZPA