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Special visit to acclaimed father's alma mater

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Mingma Norbu Sherpa received his Diploma in Parks and Recreation from Lincoln in 1980 and went on to become a leader in conservation in his home country of Nepal.

Today his daughter, Dawa Sherpa, got to see for the first time where her late father studied.

Dawa is president of the Greater Himalayas Foundation, set up to honour her father’s legacy, and has worked for international organisations such as the United Nations Development Programme.

Mingma died in a helicopter crash in Nepal in 2006.

A scholarship in his name at Lincoln is jointly funded by the Foundation, his former employer WWF, and the University.

WWF wanted to honour his life-long commitment to "help Nepal’s rural poor to improve their livelihoods while living in harmony with nature and saw Lincoln as the right place to continue his aspirations".

The scholarships supports Nepalese students from remote regions of the country who are committed to the future of environmental protection and sustainable natural resource management in Nepal.

Mingma was one of the first students to graduate from the Hillary Khumjung School, a school set up by Sir Edmund Hillary in Nepal.

He received his Diploma in Parks and Recreation from Lincoln in 1980 and was the first Sherpa to serve as Warden of Sagarmatha (Everest) after Sir Edmund Hillary helped establish the park in 1976.

He worked for the Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) before joining WWF as director of its Himalayan programme. In 1998 he moved to WWF-US to become the director of Nepal and Bhutan programmes.

He led efforts to protect the Bengal tiger and greater one-horned rhinoceros.

Tributes to Mingma credit his ability to achieve remarkable results to his adherence to the values and philosophies of Sir Edmund Hillary that without the support of the local people, the natural heritage of the Himalayas cannot be protected.

He called his approach "conservation with a human face," and trained Nepalese conservation officials and made environmental awareness a central concern in Nepal for the first time.

The head of WWF New Zealand Chris Howe was also at the visit and Dawa had a campus tour with Lincoln University Professor of Tourism David Simmons, who was involved in establishing the scholarship at Lincoln.

Professor Simmons says Lincoln has a strong history of involvement with Nepal and has had scholars attending the University stretching back more than 40 years. At one stage almost a quarter of Nepal’s land area, mostly conservation areas and national parks, were managed by Lincoln graduates.

The Greater Himalayan Foundation recruits students in Nepal, and provides airfares and insurance. WWF provides living allowances while they are in New Zealand and Lincoln pays their tuition fees.

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