Wellington, June 13 (ANI): Sir Edmund Hillary's ice axe, used by him in his historic ascent of Mt Everest, is lying neglected in a museum stairwell next to cardboard boxes and coffee cups.
Auckland War Memorial Museum received the axe from Sir Edmund's widow, Lady June Hillary, in 2008 on the condition it be permanently displayed.
However, the tool now languishes beside a nondescript display case containing ceramic pots and cups and a cardboard box that once contained Crown Lynn "fine coffeeware".
But museum spokeswoman Laura Westphal said the box and cups had "absolutely no connection with Hillary and his axe".
According to her, the axe was moved to the stairwell after a more prominent display of Hillary artefacts ended.
"This isn't an ideal permanent exhibition - it's not wheelchair accessible - and we don't plan it to be there forever," The New Zealand Herald quoted Westphal, as saying.
Hillary's son Peter said: "I haven't seen the display ... I'm not going to make a comment until I've seen the thing myself." (ANI)