Patron: Her Excellency The Right Honourable Dame Patsy Reddy, GNZM, QSO, Governor-General of New Zealand

Focus on Nepal

By Dr Anita Perkins 

A beautiful land-locked country in South Asia

Nepal is a country in South Asia of about 29 million inhabitants and 147km squared. Landlocked and positioned between India and China, Nepal was largely closed off to the outside world until the 1950s. It is a poor country and greatly dependent on aid and tourism. Nepali is the main language and Hindu the main religion. Nepal’s system of government is a federal parliamentary republic and a national constitution was established in 2015.

Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi recently visited Nepal and spoke of the country’s history and relationship with India. The following was part of his address:

“Nepal has covered a long journey from yuddh to buddh (war to peace). You have left the bullet for the ballot… But this not the destination. You have to go a long way. You have reached the base camp of Mt Everest and the main climb is yet to be done. As Sherpas help mountaineers to reach the top of Everest, India is ready to help Nepal like a Sherpa to achieve development.”

New Zealand Relationship with Nepal

New Zealand has a special relationship with Nepal which was established through the dedication of Sir Edmund Hillary. In 1953, he and Tenzing Norgay summitted Mt Everest; in the 1960s he established the Himalayan Trust and from 1985 to 1989 he was New Zealand’s Ambassador to Nepal. Hillary remained engaged with his life-long passion for the country until he died in 2008.

Three years since earthquakes

In 2015, Nepal was struck by a series of earthquakes. Deaths from the earthquake totalled almost 9000 and the damage to infrastructure was immense. Recovering from this tragic event has been a primary focus of the Himalayan Trust in recent years, which has rebuilt 150 earthquake strengthened classrooms.

Everest Base Camp trek

In May Asia Forum writer Anita Perkins will spend 3 weeks in Nepal on a Himalayan Trust hike up to Everest Base Camp. The group aims to reach Base Camp – 5,380m – on the 65th anniversary of Norgay and Hilary’s summiting of Mt Everest. This trip involved fundraising for the Trust and we’ll spend some time volunteering in schools and building water systems in the villages along the way.

Information about Nepal:

https://www.mfat.govt.nz/en/countries-and-regions/south-asia/nepal/

https://www.cia.gov/library/Publications/the-world-factbook/geos/np.html

News item on PM Modi’s visit to Kathmandu:

https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/pm-modi-goes-all-out-to-win-hearts-nepal-foreign-minister-says-ties-at-new-high/articleshow/64142206.cms

The Himalayan Trust:

https://himalayantrust.org/

The Base Camp Trek:

https://himalayantrust.org/trek/