The coffin of Sir Paul Holmes is carried out at Auckland
Cathedral of the Holy Trinity in Parnell. (Photo by Hannah
Long-time friends, colleagues and loved ones have paid
their last respects to Sir Paul Holmes at a service in
Along with Sir Paul's wife Lady Deborah and children Millie
and Reuben, Cabinet minister Gerry Brownlee, Labour leader
David Shearer, and Auckland mayor Len Brown were among the
huge congregation at Holy Trinity Cathedral in Parnell.
Ann Mellor, a friend of Sir Paul's for 10 years, and the
cathedral's dean Jo Kelly-Moore, led the 90-minute service in
which loved ones pad tribute to an "extraordinary man".
Long-time friend Peter Beavan, who had been a friend of Sir
Paul's since high school said the pair became fast friends:
"Paul had a confident grin and lots of energy. He was
intelligent but not an academic. He wasn't much good at
The pair studied law at Victoria University before Sir Paul
changed subject to English. He later went to radio school and
got his first broadcasting job in Christchurch.
Mr Beavan also spoke about the closeness Sir Paul and Millie
developed following her public battle with drug addiction.
His friend had been looking forward to enjoying his
retirement and the life he had built with Lady Deborah in
Hawkes Bay, "but it was not to be".
"The last months were difficult," said Mr Beavan referring to
the health problems Sir Paul had suffered.
Brent Harman and Bill Francis worked with Sir Paul at
Newstalk ZB, where he quickly became widely respected and had
an big impact on the station's success.
"I never had any doubt that I was working with the greatest
broadcaster of our time, probably of all time," said Mr
"He wanted success more than anyone I ever knew. He also
worked harder than anyone I ever knew."
He described Sir Paul as storyteller with empathy, a strong
sense of history and huge loyalty to the people and
organisations he worked for.
Paralympic swimmer Duane Kale said Sir Paul had changed his
life by making a documentary about paralympic sport that
inspired him to become an athlete.
His work as patron of Paralympics New Zealand raised its
profile and put the organisation into a stronger position.
"Today marks the final chapter of a true, great New
The 62-year-old was "way too young" to die, said former
broadcaster John Hawkesby.
The pair initially kept each other at arm's length, despite a
professional respect, but later became friends.
In a light moment, Mr Hawkesby raised laughter from the
congregation when he said his friend would have loved walking
into a supermarket or dairy this week to see his face on
almost every magazine in the stands - apart from one
publication dedicated to Victoria Beckham.
He would be delighted to see today's turnout too, said Mr
"Well, Sir Paul you'd be very pleased to see your pulling
power is as good as ever - not just full, overflowing," he
said of the 1100-seat capacity cathedral.
And in his final words he farewelled the "cheeky little
whitey", a play on Sir Paul's description of former UN boss
Kofi Annan as a "cheeky darkie".
Sir Paul's children Millie and Reuben made the final tributes
to Sir Paul.
Millie read a quote by her dad from Holmes at Large a
collection of his Herald on Sunday columns. It was written
about her battle with P.
"Love always wins. It might take longer than evil and hatred,
resentment and envy, but love always wins," it said in part.
The service concluded with a montage of photos to Pale Blue
Eyes by Velvet Underground.
Dame Malvina Major sang a solo of 'O Mio Babbino Caro' as a
final tribute to Sir Paul.
Sir Paul's children, with close friends Mike Williams, Paul
Watkinson and Mr Beavan carried his coffin from the cathedral
with Lady Deborah walking behind.