Sir Paul Holmes. Photo / Paul Taylor
Sir Paul Holmes, the controversial broadcaster with the
cheeky grin and quick wit, has died at home, surrounded by
Holmes' family issued a statement at 9.30am.
"Sir Paul Holmes passed away peacefully early this morning
surrounded by his family at home in Hawkes Bay, as he wished
"Sir Paul had been in poor health since having heart surgery
last year. In recent months he had also been suffering from a
resurgence of prostate cancer.
"More than just a broadcaster, Paul was a loving husband and
father, as well as a generous friend. He loved people and
people loved him.
"Lady Holmes, Millie, Rueben and Ken Holmes would like to
thank the public for their incredible support. "
The family said information on how the public can pay tribute
to Sir Paul will be announced in due course.
The 62-year-old was admitted to hospital a week after his
investiture last month was hastily brought forward.
Just a few months ago, Sir Paul's old foe, prostate cancer,
forced him to pull the curtain on a 40 year career.
Sir Paul rose through the ranks of media in New Zealand, and
not long into fronting his self-named TVNZ current affairs
show became as much a celebrity as those he interviewed.
As his popularity grew, Sir Paul's personal highs and lows
also made headlines. Every twist and turn in his life became
public property including a battle with prostate cancer and a
near-death experience in a helicopter accident.
More recently it was again his health which made the
headlines; his career was put on hold when his cancer
returned early last year and he underwent open-heart surgery
He briefly returned to the country's screens and airwaves,
but in December he announced he was retiring from
broadcasting because of poor health.
An unexpected phone call from Prime Minister John Key on
Christmas Day ended Sir Paul's "annus horribilis'' year with
an ``unexpected wonderful'' gift in the form of a knighthood.
Sir Paul was born on April 29, 1950 to Christina and Henry.
He grew up in Haumoana, Hawkes Bay with his brother Ken (born
1952), and went to school in Hastings.
In 1972 he completed a BA at Victoria University and joined
the New Zealand Broadcasting Corporation as an announcer in
A bright future was almost cut short when Sir Paul was
involved in a near-fatal car crash in 1973. He suffered a
neck fracture, brain haemorrhage and lost vision in his right
eye. He recovered after several weeks in hospital and
re-launched his radio career.
In 1989 he again made headlines when the helicopter he was
travelling in crashed into the ocean off the North Island's
east coast killing a man. Sir Paul survived and swam to
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 in 2011 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 people on board.
Sir Paul has championed several charities, notably the
Stellar Trust, leading the fight against methamphetamine, or
In 2009 Sir Paul began hosting TVNZ's political show Q+A, and
had been writing a column for the New Zealand Herald.
In recent years he had been living with his current wife,
Deborah, at a Hawkes Bay farm with gardens and thousands of
His investiture as a Knight Companion of the New Zealand
Order of Merit was held there on January 16 this year. Family
had requested the ceremony be fast-tracked because of his ill