The Whakapapa ski field opened in 1953, and the following year the first chairlift was installed. It was officially opened by mountaineer Edmund Hillary, who had successfully climbed Mt Everest in the Himalayas of Nepal the previous year. Watch this clip to see the first users of the chairlift make their way up the mountain and down again on skis.
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Archives New Zealand - Te Rua Mahara o te Kāwanatanga
Reference: Pictorial Parade 26. National Film Unit, 1954
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