Arise Sir Paul Holmes

By MORGAN TAIT


The dubbing of the sword has officially marked veteran broadcaster, journalist and author Sir Paul Holmes' ascent into knighthood today.


Named in the New Year's Honours List for his "legacy"  in broadcasting and the community, Sir Paul was supported by his family and 100 invited guests who filled the majestic setting at his sprawling Hastings property, Mana Lodge.


Today's investiture ceremony was moved forward to accommodate the 62-year-old's ailing health. He underwent heart surgery last year and continues to battle an aggressive prostate cancer he was first diagnosed nearly 10 years ago.


 


 


Governor-General, Lieutenant-General Sir Jerry Mateparae, travelled to Hawke's Bay for the occasion that has secured the biggest-ever media presence for an investiture - despite being for just one person.


"Sir Paul, you have rendered exceptional service to New Zealand, and therefore to the Crown. Accordingly, it is appropriate that your contribution is recognised today," said Sir Jerry.


"Your achievements and commitment to your work as a broadcaster and supporter of community initiatives have brought us here today.


"Your legacy to New Zealand broadcasting, as a pioneer - in talk-back radio, and in news and current affairs on television - is considerable.


"You are a man of many talents, skills and endeavours whom we acknowledge and celebrate today."


He said Sir Paul joined the few New Zealanders who each year are made Dames or Knights Companions of the New Zealand Order of Merit for "meritorious service to the crown and the nation".


"The accolade is one of our nation's highest honours, and is awarded to those who have demonstrated a sustained commitment and are recognised by the Queen, and their peers, as having made a pre-eminent contribution at a national or international level.


The Haumoana-born, Karamu High School foundation student retired late last year as one of the most recognised media personalities New Zealand has ever had.


As a high school student he auditioned at the local radio station and acted in theatre productions. At Victoria University his study interests moved from law to arts.


Sir Paul's career as a radio host in the 1980s transcended the format change from community radio to a news, interview and talkback format.


TVNZ's prime time current affairs show Holmes changed the face of broadcasting, with the hard-hitting often controversial interviews continuing into Sir Paul's recent gigs on Prime TV, Newstalk ZB and TV1's Q+A.


"You have achieved excellence in broadcasting and helped in your community, and you have done those things in your very own way," Sir Jerry said.


"Throughout your long and varied career that includes work on the stage, on television and radio, and in the printed word, you have celebrated the colourful, the passionate and the expressive side of our national psyche.


"You have asked hard questions of politicians, bureaucrats and celebrities. And you have told the stories of everyday New Zealanders as they celebrated the good times, and grieved in sad times."


Today also honoured his commitment to the community - notably the public causes he championed including the Paralympics, his work with anti-methamphetamine group the Stellar Trust, motivated by his daughter's own struggles, and the Auckland Westpac rescue helicopter charity.


Despite his high-flying career based largely in the big cities, Sir Paul has always maintained close ties to Hawke's Bay.


His community work often brought him back to speak at a number of charity and community events before returning permanently in recent times.

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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