Urgent ceremony for ailing Sir Paul

An urgent knighthood ceremony has been arranged for Sir Paul Holmes next week because of concerns about his health.

The veteran broadcaster, journalist and author will be given a rare early investiture on January 16 after a request from his family and friends, who are worried about his deteriorating health.

The Governor-General, Lieutenant General Sir Jerry Mateparae, agreed to the request and will travel to Hawkes Bay for the ceremony.

The New Zealand Herald understands it will be held at Sir Paul's home, a sprawling patch of farmland where he grows olives for his olive oil business.

Other recipients are due to receive their titles in several months.

A spokesman for the Governor-General said Sir Paul has been considered a knight from the moment the honour was announced on December 31, but his family had asked for the investiture to be held as soon as possible.

The finer details, such as who will attend the ceremony, are still to be confirmed.

Sir Paul ended his broadcasting career late last year because of ill-health. He had an operation last January for prostate cancer, which returned aggressively later in the year, and also underwent open-heart surgery in June.

After the knighthood was announced, Sir Paul told the Herald it was an unexpected, wonderful gift after a difficult year.

"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."

He was a late addition to the New Year Honours List, with notification from the Cabinet Office arriving at news media offices eight days after the list of the other recipients.

Sir Paul earned respect from his peers and the public over his 35 years in broadcasting, in particular for his accessible, often quirky coverage of news and current affairs on both morning radio and prime-time TV.

"Current affairs should be something enjoyable," he said. "We should take pleasure in finding out about our issues."

- Isaac Davison of the NZ Herald

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