Leave your tributes for Sir Paul Holmes



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New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said he didn't always agree with Sir Paul Holmes during their long professional relationship but he held him in high regard.

``He was hugely talented, creative and hard-working, and one of our best journalists.

``Sir Paul was one of a rare breed who was modest enough to know that sometimes you win arguments, and other times you lose.

``He will be sorely missed and we wish his family, friends and colleagues all the best in these trying times.''


Broadcasting Minister Craig Foss said Sir Paul was a ``remarkable man.'' who would by remembered as an acclaimed figure in New Zealand broadcasting.

``He will be sorely missed by his media colleagues as well as viewers and listeners around the country.

``For many decades, he changed the face of broadcasting and will be remembered for his passionate, skilled and insightful interviews telling the stories of New Zealand,'' he said.

Mr Foss expressed his deepest sympathies to Sir Paul's family.



Media commentator Jim Tucker said the media world owed Sir Paul for his work.

``It's marvellous when someone gets knighted who's in the media ... we're hated, there's no recognition for what we do, we plug on with our jobs driven by altruism and bugger-all pay, when a media person is accorded that sort of accolade then we all win, and we owe him.''

Mr Tucker said he regarded Sir Paul as a genius.

``He drew people in, that to me is the legacy he's left. He leaves a legacy of a kind man, who like all geniuses had his flaws and foibles.

Mr Tucker, the head of journalism at tertiary institute Whitirea, remembered a time when Sir Paul was meant to speak to his journalism students but did not make it.

``Someone turned up from TVNZ and said Paul has had a helicopter accident, but he'll come next year. And this is the trouble he took, even though it was a terrible accident ... that says such a lot about the man. And he did come the following year.''



Journalist Fran O'Sullivan, who knew Sir Paul well for 30 years since starting her radio career in the early 1980s, said he had an incredible life force.

``I liked his sense of outrage and I liked his occasionally outrageous behaviour, because he had a life spirit that wasn't easily quelled. That's something to be admired.

``People have always said he should have slowed down. He lived life at both ends of the candle. But in fact he lived a life, and it was with a great life force and to me that's something to be admired.

``He wasn't easily put down, he had his setbacks, he had the accidents, he had the terrible move to Prime, which was an incredible misjudgment.

``That was a regret, but he bounced back, he pushed back, and that's what I liked about him. He would have a defeat and he would rise again.''

O'Sullivan said Sir Paul had been ``a good gladiator''.

``There have been times over the years when [we were] poles apart on various issues and views and opinions.

``But you could have a good stoush with him over something and then go and have a drink or a durry [cigarette], as people used to do in those days ... and a thoroughly amicable chat.

She said there were episodes when Sir Paul's mouth ran away with him.

``But he liked danger too, so he liked to take things to the wire. And he realised that in media, particularly if you're going to keep an audience over a very long period of time, which he did on both radio and television, you need to have an appetite for that once in a while.

``And occasionally he jumped over, and good producers reined him back and then put him on the horse and got him out again. He was a very good act.''

O'Sullivan said his legacy was one of ``challenge and humanity''.

``I think he was incisive. He had much more intellect than people gave him credit for.''



 Prime Minister John Key says Sir Paul's death signals the end of a broadcasting era.

``Paul Holmes was a gentleman broadcaster. He conducted his interviews with intelligence and insightfulness, and while he never suffered fools, his interviews were never without kindness and empathy.

``He was a trailblazer in New Zealand journalism with a style that was all his own.

``I also counted him as a friend and I want to personally acknowledge the pain Deborah, Lady Holmes, Millie and Reuben are now feeling and offer my heartfelt condolences,'' says Mr Key.

``Paul has been part of New Zealanders' lives since the 1970s. For more than a decade he was compulsive viewing at 7pm and, up until very recently, he was still on Q&A and his radio show. It is hard to imagine a broadcasting spectrum without him.

``It was a privilege to be with him last month as he received his Knighthood for services to broadcasting - I cannot think of anyone who deserved this more.

``Farewell Sir Paul, you will be missed.''



Labour Leader David Shearer described Sir Paul as a true professional who was hugely respected not only by his peers, but by New Zealanders across social and political spectrums.

``A pioneer of the talkback radio format, he was at the forefront of current affairs television and never shied from controversy.

``He had a fine sense of the `ordinary Kiwi', along with an uncanny understanding of the issues of the day.

``What always struck me was his enthusiasm for his country. He was a passionate New Zealander who stood up for anyone willing to have a go.

``I got to know him a bit more personally in recent years. I saw him as a friend and frequently enjoyed a robust debate with him.

``Paul's contribution to New Zealand's media landscape was significant, and he will be deeply missed.

``My sympathy and thoughts are with his wife, Lady Deborah Holmes, his children Millie and Rueben and other family members.''



Broadcast media personality Brian Edwards said Sir Paul's death was not unexpected, but came too soon.

``I look at someone like Paul, who obviously had potentially years and years and years to do a lot more broadcasting - his death is just too soon, I suppose, it's just too early.''

Edwards said Sir Paul had shown tremendous courage in the face of death, citing an ``admirable'' recent interview with TVNZ's Sunday programme.

``I thought that demonstrated such tremendous courage and honesty in the face of what he obviously knew was his impending death. I thought it was quite typical of the man. So it's a hugely great loss.''



Mark Sainsbury said there would never be anyone else in broadcasting like his ``extraordinary'' friend Sir Paul.

``He was just so totally unique. Everything he did he threw himself at 100 per cent. He was just brilliant,'' he said.

Through his dedication and hard work Sir Paul altered the face of radio and television, said Sainsbury.

``He just so radically changed everything.''

His friend was a professional who cared passionately about people, which was reflected through his work, he said.

Sainsbury described Sir Paul as a ``very, very emotional'' man, who at times found criticism difficult.

``Like anything in this business, you're not everyone's cup of tea, but Paul would take that and that was the good thing - he knew that. It didn't go without people criticising all the things that happened. It hurt Paul. He would accept it professionally but he never liked to upset anyone unless they were bastards.''






Bill Ralston, who was head of TVNZ news and current affairs when Sir Paul left the state broadcaster, said his death was ``extremely sad''.

``Paul was such a dominant figure in both radio and television broadcasting over the last 20 years and contributed so much, not only in terms of his broadcasting, but also in the charity work he did which was recognised in that knighthood. It's a very, very sad day.''

Asked about his favourite moments with Sir Paul, Ralston paid tribute to his sense of humour.

``His sense of humour was such that you were constantly laughing. He was an extremely funny man - he had a superb sense of irony. He would never hesitate to tell a joke against himself, but at the same time he always had a very strong self-confidence in what he did.

``He was a guy who backed himself in almost everything he did and was willing to take it on the chin. When something went wrong he'd put it right.

``His career, like anyone's career I think in broadcasting, had its ups and downs and had its controversial moments.

``But at the end of it, at the time of his passing now, I think New Zealand as a whole really does mourn for him. Many of us grew up with him. He was such a large part of our life for two decades.''

Ralston said Sir Paul would have a lasting impact on New Zealand broadcasting.

``He took broadcasting from being quite stodgy, quite serious and more than a little boring - particularly in the area of news and current affairs - and made it interesting, humourous, vibrant, must-match.

``He had top-rating radio and television programmes and I don't think those programmes would have normally attracted those kinds of ratings without someone like Paul Holmes' showmanship.''



Dallas Gurney, a close friend of Sir Paul and the head of talk brands at the Radio Network, said Sir Paul was the greatest broadcaster of our time.

``He doesn't leave a gap, he leaves a chasm, I don't think we realised at the time just how lucky we were to have a broadcaster of his ilk on the television and on the radio.''

He remembered Sir Paul as a cheeky and funny man.

``He'd often have the newsroom in fits of laughter and I'm sure that Sir Paul's presence will be felt around this place for many years to come.''

Everybody knew how good a broadcaster Sir Paul was, ``but more than that he was a good person''.

``The thing about Paul is no matter who you are, be the most lowly reporter or the CEO of the company, he had time for you and people say the greatest gift you can give people is you're time, it's very true for Sir Paul.''


- Bay of Plenty Times

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