Curtain falls for the last time

Yahoo! New Zealand Updated February 1, 2013, 9:33 am

New Zealand media icon Sir Paul Holmes has died at the age of 62.

Best known for being the enigmatic host of his eponymous TVNZ current affairs show from 1989 to 2004, Holmes passed away peacefully early this morning surrounded by his family at home in Hawkes Bay.

Holmes’ career in the media began in 1987 when he took over as host of the breakfast show on Newstalk ZB (then 1ZB) and despite an initial backlash against him he took the station to number one in the ratings.

Only two years later the ‘Holmes’ show debuted and controversy ensued in the very first episode after US America’s Cup skipper Dennis Conner stormed off set midway through an interview.

Holmes made his name as a brilliant interviewer who could get the best out of his subjects, but controversy was never too far away.

He infamously referred to UN Secretary General Kofi Annan as a “cheeky darkie” and while he caused outrage and lost a show sponsor, he was still ranked in the New Zealand Listener’s 50 Most Powerful People list until 2005.

He also cheated death in 1989 when he was involved in a helicopter crash into the sea at Anaura Bay on the East Coast of the North Island which killed a fellow passenger. In 2004 he crash landed his Boeing Stearman biplane twice.

More recently Holmes had been the somewhat pained face of the campaign to rid the country of the scourges of the drug ‘P’ after his daughter Millie was arrested and put on trial for possession of the drug. The charges were eventually dropped.

While he continued to be a presence in the media, hosting a Saturday morning show on NewstalkZB and a political talk show on TVNZ until recently, he again stirred controversy with the release of his book ‘Daughters of Erebus’ in 2011 which opened up and shed new light on the country’s deadliest air tragedy.

Holmes’ health became headline news in 2012 when he had heart surgery and was subsequently placed in a drug induced coma to aid his recovery.

He was knighted for his services to broadcasting and the community in the 2013 New Year Honours.

His investiture ceremony was brought forward to January 16 following a request from his family citing his ill health.

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  1. Hombre07:17pm Friday 01st February 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    Paul upset a lot of people in his early days because of the dumbed down passive nature of NZers. NZers weren't used to hearing from someone who said what he felt. I daresay that some anti comments here are from those wimps that are still wimps and still find it hard to know the truths if the world. R.I.P. Sir Paul Holmes.

  2. Susanne Scott05:26pm Friday 01st February 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    what about the rugby? paul loved rugby'

  3. Lee01:49pm Friday 01st February 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    I never really liked him in his early years, because he would often be quiet hurtful and seemed uncaring of peoples feelings, but in later years, he had changed somewhat and a very differant paul began to merge, I saw some of his interveiw last week, I thought he was very brave, and very honest. My heart went out to him , I thought here is a great man !!! prayers were said in his direction, rest now paul and be at peace

  4. 11:58am Friday 01st February 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    You were the best

  5. George11:46am Friday 01st February 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    I think he set the lowest broadcasting standard for for condescending arrogance & "put-downs" of others that now seem to pervade TV these days, along with cohort Paul Henry! Let's raise the standards, not drop them to just to earn "brownie-points"!

    1 Reply
  6. John11:30am Friday 01st February 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    That is sad news. I was absolutely apalled by Kim Dotcom's blatant lack of respect considering Sir Paul only had a matter of time to live. By travelling by helicopter to 'drop in and say hi' at a time when the family should be given peace and left alone, this idiot German has used the media focussing on Holmes for his own personal gain! This guy has no conscious and damn the media for allowing him to get away with it. Kim Dotcom is no newsworthy. Sir Paul Holmes is.

    5 Replies
  7. Lorraine11:30am Friday 01st February 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    So sad to hear the news, he was a fabulous person and will be dearly missed. Love and thoughts to all the family

  8. jd11:16am Friday 01st February 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    Hugh Janus I totally agree, if these people have nothing nice to say then they should keep their comments to themselves

  9. Iona House11:09am Friday 01st February 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    He was paid well for what he did. Lots of people die at 60 from cancer or heart attack...A daily walk with the dog costs nothing and will keep you alive for a long time.

    1 Reply
  10. MissG10:59am Friday 01st February 2013 NZDTReport Abuse

    Very sad :( arohanui to your whanau


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