Kelly Makiha is a senior reporter at the Rotorua Daily Post

Editorial: Happy health wishes Holmes

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Paul Holmes is one of those media personalities you love or hate.

But no matter which side of the fence you sit, there's no denying he's had a successful career.

He has recently announced his retirement from the media spotlight after more health scares. It brings to a close a career that has spanned five decades.

This year he anchored TVNZ's Sunday current affairs programme Q&A; and hosted a Saturday morning radio show, but he now says he will not return as he makes his health his priority. The demands of weekly travel between his Poukawa, Hawke's Bay, home and Auckland were too much.

The 62-year-old is affected by a heart condition, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, which results in the heart muscle thickening, making it work harder to pump the blood, and by the return of prostate cancer for which he had undergone intensive radiotherapy treatment 13 years ago.

Holmes said 2012 had been a tough year.

He underwent open-heart surgery in June and spent three weeks at Auckland Hospital's heart unit.

I wasn't much of a fan of his broadcasting tactics to start with but grew to admire him after meeting him in 1996 as a green media-mad 17-year-old.

Living in Timaru at the time, I had recently won the New Zealand Gold Awards in Gore and was flown to Auckland days after the awards to sing live on Holmes.

While naturally excited about the opportunity, I was more interested in the fact I was going into the TVNZ building and might see some famous reporters.

I told Holmes about my wishes to pursue a career in the media. Once we got the show out of the way, he spent the next two to three hours with me, taking me through the day-to-day runnings of the newsroom, introducing me to all the "stars" and giving me a lowdown on the do's and don'ts.

He followed that up a few weeks later by writing a reference, which I used in my CV to get into journalism school the following year.

This was during a period when Holmes was known as a notorious workaholic - doing his Holmes TV show at night while also juggling a radio breakfast gig.

He didn't have to be bothered with me but he took the time and I will always be grateful.

Here's to a happy and healthy retirement, Holmes. You are a true media icon.

* Kelly Makiha is the chief reporter of Hawke's Bay Today's sister paper, The Daily Post, in Rotorua.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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