Sir Paul Holmes (1950 - 2013) - Timeline


March, 1987

Replaces Merv Smith at Auckland's then 1 ZB. The New Zealand Herald says Holmes carries an ``enormous weight on his shoulders'' as the ``new star'' charged with winning back the ratings from Radio i.

January, 1989

Moves into TV with Midweek with Holmes with the goal of being ``a damned good current affairs performer''. The Herald describes the show as having a ``disturbing effect on the status quo'' of TV. Holmes soon gets his own show.

April, 1989

Watches as US yachtie Dennis Connor storms off the Holmes show in the middle of an interview. Herald columnist Wendyl Nissen writes: ``The Holmes Show abused its role as a current affairs vehicle by allowing itself to sway towards sensationalism''.

June, 1989

Takes Newstalk 1ZB to the top of the radio breakfast ratings.


August, 1996

Is heaped with criticism after trying to meet John Fagan at Auckland airport. Fagan was on the run after discharging a shotgun in the grounds of Auckland's Northcote College. Fagan phoned Holmes and talked to him for 15 minutes on air before arranging to meet the broadcaster at the airport later that day. Just as Holmes arrived at the airport, Fagan gave himself up to police. Police said Holmes should have called them first. Holmes said he was doing his job as a citizen.

March, 1997

Marks 10 years on 1ZB, eight at the top of the ratings

March, 1998

Is tipped to join the race for Auckland's mayoralty. He says it would be ``an extraordinary challenge and perhaps I need new challenges'' but that he has no plans to stand ``at this point in time''.

January, 2000

Begins radiotherapy to fight off prostate cancer. He is off work for two months but makes little mention of the cancer on his first show back in late March, other than to say it's ``good to be back'' and ``thanks for all the faxes''.

February, 2000

Threatens to leave New Zealand and take ``a whole lot of talented people'' with him after then Prime Minister Helen Clark criticises TVNZ salaries. Former Prime Minister David Lange says he would ``dance naked on a table'' for Holmes' paypacket, while New Zealand First leader Winston Peters offers to drive him to the airport.

November, 2000

Releases self-titled CD. Two months later the Herald reports that it is keeping the ``record store bins full''.

September, 2003

Describes then United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan as a ``cheeky darkie'' on his breakfast show. Holmes apologises after a public outcry and sponsor Mitsubishi pulls out saying he was ``tired''.

April, 2004

Calls then Associated Maori Affairs Minister Tariana Turia a ``bag of lard'' and a ``complete fool'' for her changing stance on the Foreshore and Seabed Act. Mrs Turia describes the comments as ``hurtful''.

December, 2004

Survives a second plane crash in his vintage Boeing Stearman biplane while practising take-offs and landings at the Bridge Pa Aerodrome near Hastings. Senior Sergeant Mike O'Leary says Holmes told police a gust of wind caught the aircraft and he clipped a grapevine.

January, 2005

Begins a new contract with Prime TV after leaving TVNZ over a pay dispute. He signs a three-year contract but the show only runs from February to August.

December, 2008

Makes his last sign-off as breakfast host of Newstalk ZB. At a breakfast overlooking Auckland's Westhaven Marina, Holmes pays tribute to his family, colleagues and listeners. Prime Minister John Key says Holmes ``entertained the nation''.

August 10, 2009

Loses his mother Chrissy Hobson, who dies aged 85.


Becomes an advocate in the battle against P, making a documentary about its destructive impact and working as an ambassador for anti-P charity Stellar Trust, as a result of his daughter Millie Elder's public battles with the drug.

March, 2009

Starts as host of new TVNZ political current affairs Q&A.

September, 2011

Releases Daughters of Erebus, his book about the handling of the 1979 tragedy.

June, 2012

Has open heart surgery after being diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a usually genetic condition in which the heart muscle thickens to such an extent it impedes and blocks blood flow.

September 2012

Returns to Newstalk ZB to present the Saturday morning show.

December, 2012

Retires from broadcasting, leaving Q&A, and his Saturday morning radio show on Newstalk ZB, because of ill health.

Jan 16, 2013

Is knighted at an investiture ceremony hastily arranged at his Hawkes Bay home because of his ailing heart and prostate cancer. Honoured for his broadcasting and charitable causes in front of dignitaries and 100 guests, saying ``It's nice to be Sir and Lady. I want everyone to call me Sir, I'm unashamed - as you would expect.''

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- Hawkes Bay Today

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