Under The Himalayan Sky: Establishing Sagarmatha National Park - A New Zealand Family's experience
Author: Margaret Jefferies
In the 1970s, the Nepalese government established an agreement with New Zealand for help in setting up a national park in the Mt Everest region of the Himalayas. Bruce Jeff eries, an Assistant Supervising Ranger with New Zealand’s National Park Service, took off for Nepal with his wife Margaret, and three young children. Th ey had little idea of what to expect in this remote, high-altitude environment.
Under the Himalayan Sky is Margaret’s memoir of the time the family spent in Khumbu (Mt Everest), with no running water or electricity, largely cut off from the outside world, living on the traditional local diet of potatoes and tea. In spite of what might be perceived as hardships, the family embraced life amongst the colourful and hospitable Sherpa people.
Margaret’s story paints a fascinating portrait of this region of Nepal in the early days before large scale tourism and trekking opened it up to the outside world.
(Front Flap Text)
Sagarmatha National Park is a stunningly beautiful part of Nepal, which includes the world’s highest mountain. It also home to the Sherpa people who originally traded goods across the Himalaya and lived a traditional life of agro-pastoralism. Th ese were some of the reasons the park was listed as a World Heritage Area in 1979.
Today, 35,000 tourists and mountaineers fl ock to the park every year. Th eir expectations of modern comforts are largely met by large lodges, electricity, cafes, helicopters, running water and easy access. Few visitors pause to refl ect on how this magnifi cent park, and the lives of its people, were when it was established just over 40 years ago. Th e changes since then have been profound.
Th is book off ers a glimpse into that earlier traditional way of life, which has rapidly succumbed to commercial pressures and globalisation.
(Back Flap Text)
After living in Khumbu from 1977- 79, Margaret Jeff eries has returned to Nepal and Khumbu many times. Th is includes living in Kathmandu from 1986-89 while her husband Bruce managed a Nepal-wide Protected Areas Project.
She is the author of ‘Highest Heritage’, a guide to the natural and cultural world of Sagarmatha National Park, and ‘Royal Chitwan National Park Wildlife Heritage of Nepal’.
Margaret’s home is currently in Wanaka, New Zealand, where she lives with her husband, Bruce, assisting him with his work in conservation, which still takes them to many corners of the world.