Sir Paul’s big day

January 18th, 2013 at 1:00 pm by David Farrar

Michael Dickison at the NZ Herald reported:

Yesterday he was honoured for his long contributions to broadcasting and charitable causes in front of dignitaries and 100 guests at his Hawkes Bay lodge. In a 35-year career Sir Paul broke new ground as a current affairs host in television and radio, was acclaimed as he expanded his journalism into newspapers and books, and championed several important social causes. He became one of New Zealand’s most prominent personalities, widely recognised for his humour and humanity.

Pam Corkery on ZB yesterday made the very pertinent point that Holmes became our most powerful broadcaster but that he didn’t use that position just to knock things down, but also to build things up such as his support over many years for the Paralympics or the humanity he and others showed to Eve van Grafhorst.

Mr Holm read out a selection of Sir Paul’s achievements: building his breakfast radio show up to No1, creating a new style of current affairs television programme in Holmes, investigating the country’s biggest issues – notably his best-selling book on the 1979 Air New Zealand crash in Antarctica, Daughters of Erebus, and winning awards for his writing.

I’m trying to recall what used to be on television at 7 pm before we had the Holmes Show, and its successors.

Sir Paul pulled a handkerchief out of his pocket and wiped his nose.

He had got hay fever for the first time in his life, he said.

“The old cancer found me out and has started to do some funny things.

“We still have a lot of fun, a lot of good times, but soon realities have to be faced … We haven’t had a chance to meet with the doctor to discuss what’s going on, but I don’t think it’s flash.

“I don’t think Houdini will do it this time.”

Sir Paul has survived a car crash, fatal helicopter accident, light aircraft crash and previous illnesses. But last year he had surgery for cancer and then for his heart. After the open-heart surgery his cancer returned.

He said he wanted future generations to remember him as a decent bloke.

It is a sad reality that Sir Paul is in his final weeks, and won’t get to enjoy much of his retirement in the Hawke’s Bay.

Guests drank champagne and he posed for pictures with Lady Deborah. He carried his new medal proudly.

A minor point – she is Lady Holmes, not Lady Deborah as she is the wife of a knight, not the daughter of a peer.

“The plan was I would build this farm and retire here, and live a long and wonderful life basking in my former great career,” he said. “But along comes the bloody [illness].”

Still, he is living every day full of laughter, with his wife and family alongside him.

“I wake up every morning and prepare for another day of life, like you do,” Sir Paul said.

I’m glad they threw away the normal protocols and arranged for the special ceremony. It sounds like it was a very emotional day.

No tag for this post.

21 Responses to “Sir Paul’s big day”

  1. scrubone (3,081 comments) says:

    Wasn’t the 7pm slot Sale of the Century?

    I remember the first episode, but I missed the best bit when Conner walked out!

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  2. Azeraph (603 comments) says:

    God i hated that Geek but i hope he doesn’t go out in a blaze of morphine, we all know the pain he’s facing. Don’t go quietly into the dark sir Paul.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  3. anonymouse (707 comments) says:

    A minor point – she is Lady Holmes, not Lady Deborah as she is the wife of a knight, not the daughter of a peer.

    As the honours secretariat points out NZ has no system of hereditary peerages so it can be acceptable to use that form of addressing

    http://www.honours.govt.nz/honours/overview/titles-and-styles

    “In the United Kingdom, the style “Lady Mary Smith” indicates that a woman is a holder of a peerage courtesy title in her own right, and is considered incorrect usage by the wife of a knight. In New Zealand’s more relaxed society, however, as there is no system of hereditary peerages, this convention is not always observed and the following styles may be used on occasions where the holder of the courtesy title considers it to be appropriate:

    Lady Mary
    Lady Mary Smith”

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  4. RRM (9,630 comments) says:

    Since my childhood in the 80s and 90s part of the furniture has been Paul Holmes being the man – on TV or in the papers. (Never followed his radio shows.) Some of the highlights for me have been:

    :arrow: Dennis Conner walking out
    :arrow: Ripping Shipley out over budgets that were unplugging dialysis patients
    :arrow: Ripping Michael Laws out for trash talking paralympians while shagging random drug addicts
    :arrow: Backing his druggie teenaged stepdaughter 100% through all sorts of court appearances etc, to hell with the media attention.

    What a total friggin legend that man is. It’s too bad that this discussion is probably going to have the air of an obituary.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  5. F E Smith (3,314 comments) says:

    this convention is not always observed and the following styles may be used on occasions where the holder of the courtesy title considers it to be appropriate:

    Bollocks.  The fact is that it is incorrect usage and should not be given any sort of official blessing.  All it does is mark out NZers as being uncultured ignoramuses.  

    Given the husband of a dame is not given a courtesy title, perhaps the Herald would be better simply calling her Mrs Holmes instead?  Be more egalitarian and 21st century?

    But with regards the knighthood itself: well deserved and I hope Sir Paul enjoys it for as much time as he has left (may it be longer than expected).

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  6. Rex Widerstrom (5,327 comments) says:

    You’re right RRM, let’s not make this an obituary. It sounds as though he’s not feeling chipper, but I’ve seen with relatives that illness leads to depression which can give one a bleaker outlook than the physical prognosis suggests. I sincerely hope that’s the case in this instance.

    Aside from being a thoroughly decent bloke, Paul freed up a whole generation of broadcasters who were his contemporaries and successors to present a uniquely New Zealand style of broadcasting not found anywhere else. It’s easy to take for granted the effect of that till you go almost anywhere else in the Western world and see how dull its radio and TV current affairs are, even when they’re trying to be daring.

    I know when I got my own show on radio his insistence on being himself – and nothing more nor less – was the benchmark by which I judged what I’d done when I came off air. If the audience had learned something – not just heard some news, but actually been taken beyond it and given knowledge as well as information – then that was a good show. Because that is what Paul did, usually through the sheer force of his humanity (though I don’t underestimate his skills as an interviewer): he showed his subjects as rounded human beings, not just politicians or Americas Cup captains or whatever, and allowed us insight into their underlying personalities and motivations. That sounds easy, but try getting that out of a professional communicator like a politician or a celebrity.

    And when they challenged him he bested them, as RRM notes. That too isn’t easy when dealing with someone like Shipley.

    I’m not sure whether it’s possible for him to distil what made him one of NZ’s greatest broadcasters but if it is, I hope he does so by way of a book, a monograph or even an essay. Even a bit of oral history would do. I know I’d grab a copy.

    Everyone who’s entered broadcasting post-Holmes has benefited from his work, and future generations will too whether they know it or not; but it’d be fitting if they were guided by the man himself.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  7. joana (1,983 comments) says:

    great tribute Rex..A friend told me he has written a book..on his life or on prostate cancer ? I am not sure..He has also done a lot for men by speaking out about prostate cancer.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  8. davidp (3,555 comments) says:

    My sister worked on the Holmes show back in the 90s. She has nothing but good things to say about him.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  9. infused (644 comments) says:

    I’d say he’s in his final weeks. He looks like shit (no offence). I wish him the best.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  10. Mobile Michael (430 comments) says:

    We used to have regional news programmes after a network news programme. That’s when the news started at 6.30pm.

    Holmes looked very ill the other day, I’m glad he had what was a very special day. He changed NZ.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  11. Rodders (1,790 comments) says:

    Wasn’t the 7pm slot Sale of the Century?

    Indeed. In the early days, the Holmes show ran from 6.30 to 7pm (still only a half hour news bulletin preceding it then.) When One Network News ran for the full hour (sometime in the 1990′s), Holmes moved to 7pm.

    Ripping Michael Laws out for trash talking paralympians

    Agreed. Paul Holmes has been happy to fight for the underdog.
    Warm congratulations to Sir Paul.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  12. tvb (4,240 comments) says:

    I find him pretty decent. Even though he could be quite tough at times he always left the interviewee with a bit of dignity with his impish smile. There was a warmth about him. A damn good kiwi and he will be remembered as a NZer who helped define us as a nation. Sounds like an obit sadly but I am glad he is getting tributes while he is alive.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  13. Truthiz (185 comments) says:

    Not for me,

    a simple shock jock, who has been overpaid by taxpayers for way to long.

    The whole knighthood set up as it stands is sickening … hardly a hero in any of them …

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  14. Steve (North Shore) (4,518 comments) says:

    Paul Holmes has many friends who do not like him. I am one.
    It’s not that I dislike him, but I dislike his attitude. You pissed a lot of people off – and most deserved it
    Go well Sir Paul Holmes, you are a legend.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  15. Dazzaman (1,130 comments) says:

    Remember that Connor walkout like yesterday. His show made it immediately after that.

    I do recall him being pwnd by a Great Britain rugby league manager (a lawyer I believe). He couldn’t close the interview down fast enough.

    A good entertainment diversion was Holmes…..sounding like a eulogy now, ha.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  16. Longknives (4,671 comments) says:

    “A good entertainment diversion was Holmes”

    Let’s not forget that fantastic album…http://grooveshark.com/#!/album/Paul+Holmes+CD/5587989

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  17. RF (1,341 comments) says:

    A good bastard.

    Enjoy the day.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  18. hj (6,671 comments) says:

    I particularly liked Q+A and i was gratified to learn that as Auckland’s population increased it becomes a better place to live. Long live the system and may we knight those who don’t put a spanner in the works.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  19. Rodders (1,790 comments) says:

    Long live the system and may we knight those who don’t put a spanner in the works.

    And that late-night pearl of wisdom came courtesy of NZ First.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  20. BlairM (2,304 comments) says:

    Holmes should be remembered as a great entertainer and tv host. But certainly not as a great interviewer and certainly not as any sort of great journalist. He single-handedly destroyed current affairs television in New Zealand. He reduced it to cats up trees.

    As for his interviewing style – possibly the worst I have ever seen on television. A good interviewer asks open-ended questions – Holmes would do the opposite. His questions almost always consisted of making statements and asking his subject to agree or disagree with them. Very occasionally he would have someone on who would simply call his bluff on that little game and give one word answers, and it would completely flummox him with a mad scramble to fill dead air.

    Sure, he got people watching. But at what cost? Perhaps he deserves accolades, but certainly not for advancing quality viewing or journalism.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote
  21. Keeping Stock (10,166 comments) says:

    Sir Paul has made a few mistakes and a few enemies along the way, but he wouldn’t have achieved what he had if he hadn’t pushed the boundaries. He has been a wonderful servant of the broadcast media, and although he deserves a decent retirement, it doesn’t look as though he will get it. Fast-tacking Sir Paul’s investiture was a gracious act by Sir Jerry Mateparae, who is proving to be an inspired choice as Governor-General.

    Vote: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0 You need to be logged in to vote

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.