Everest conqueror Hillary lies in state
( dpa ) - The body of Everest conqueror Sir Edmund Hillary, who died on January 11, was met by local Maori, Nepalese and Indian mourners when he was was taken to lie in state Monday at Auckland's Anglican Cathedral.
Thousands are expected day and night to file past the casket of the man regarded as the greatest New Zealander of his time, before his funeral service on Tuesday.
Thousands more will view the state service on giant screens being set up in all New Zealand's main cities, and the funeral will be transmitted live to Nepal and to New Zealand's Scott Base in the Antarctic, which Hillary helped establish 51 years ago.
Hillary's widow, Lady June, joined members of the Nepalese and Indian communities Sunday night in tossing flowers into Auckland harbour at Mission Bay, in a traditional farewell gesture at an informal remembrance service.
The only sour note sounded in the funeral preparations has been an alleged snub by British royals, who will not have a family representative at the funeral.
Hillary was one of only 24 Knights of the Garter appointed by Queen Elizabeth, and his achievement as the first man to step on the summit of Mount Everest during a British expedition was announced on the morning of her coronation in 1953.
New Zealand's Governor-General Anand Satyanand will represent the queen at the funeral, and Buckingham Palace said she would hold a memorial service to honour Hillary in April at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle.