Just say yes and go with it, says Sir Paul Holmes.
The broadcaster, journalist and author has been made a knight
in the New Year Honours - and if he were to offer one piece
of wisdom befitting his new rank, it would be to take the
opportunities that come before you.
"If you keep saying no, life will take you nowhere. Say yes
Sir Paul is among seven knights and two dames created today.
Others include Sir Owen Glenn, Sir Bob Harvey, Sir Mark Todd
and Dame Wendy Pye.
Sir Paul was at his Hawkes Bay farm - rolling land with
gardens and thousands of olive trees - when the Herald
"You've caught me in the early evening, sitting outside with
my wife, overlooking the hills at the farm ... and I just
felt so happy. I just said, 'I'm so happy'."
Sir Paul was New Zealand's dominant broadcaster from the late
1980s into the new millennium, hosting a radio show on
Newstalk ZB in the mornings and prime-time television current
affairs in the evenings.
He is also an author and last year, published Daughters of
Erebus, a re-assessment of the cause of the 1979 disaster
in which an Air New Zealand DC-10 crashed into Mt Erebus in
Antarctica, killing all 257 on board.
Sir Paul has championed several charities, notably the
Stellar Trust, leading the fight against methamphetamine, or
He was a late addition to the honours list. Notification from
the Cabinet Office arrived eight days after the rest of the
"This email is to advise you that the Prime Minister has
recommended, and the Queen has approved, a further addition
to the New Year Honours List," it said.
"To be a Knight Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit:
Mr Paul Scott Holmes... For services to broadcasting and the
Sir Paul ended his 35-year broadcasting career this year
after serious health complications.
In January, he had an operation for prostate cancer, and in
June he had open-heart surgery.
The Prime Minister telephoned him on Christmas morning.
"He was phoning from California and we chatted away for a
while, and he said, 'I'm really phoning' - because he doesn't
phone me out of the blue - 'to be the first person to
congratulate you on behalf of the people of New Zealand on
becoming a knight'."
After a long, tough year, the news had come as an unexpected
wonderful gift, Sir Paul said.
"My wife was there and I said, 'Good morning, Lady Holmes'.
She said, 'Really?' and I said, 'Yeah'."
Sir Paul said he would like to think he had been good to
people as often as he could and as much as he could.
In broadcasting, he broke barriers during his 15 years
hosting the current affairs show Holmes, adopting a
popular, widely accessible approach.
"If it was populist, I say what's wrong with being populist
if you're helping people to get a handle on the great issues
of the day?" he said.
"Current affairs should be something enjoyable. We should
take pleasure in finding out about our issues."
Sir Paul, who began his career on radio in Christchurch in
the 1970s, said he quite liked the sound of "Sir" - he
wouldn't say no.
"It feels wonderful. It's just a lovely little bonus at the
end of a hard year, and it's been a hell of a year.
"Life has been - and is - bloody wonderful."
- By Michael Dickison of NZ Herald