He's back on his feet, the smile is back on his face - and he's back at home.

Veteran broadcaster Paul Holmes arrived in Hawkes Bay yesterday, two weeks after having open-heart surgery.

The 62-year-old was assisted down a flight of stairs by an attendant as he left the plane at Napier after flying from Auckland.

Friends said he was in good spirits, and was happy and relieved to be returning home.


Wearing dark sunglasses, a jacket and jeans, he smiled and waved as he walked slowly with wife Deborah Hamilton-Holmes to a waiting taxi.

The radio and television host kept a low profile on the flight, and several passengers said they didn't recognise him.

Holmes had suffered from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, in which the heart muscle thickens and impedes blood flow.

He was flown to Auckland after the usually genetic condition was confirmed by his Hastings cardiologist on May 30 and had a four-hour operation a week later.

He was placed in a coma to speed his recovery, and awoke last weekend.

Holmes previously told the Herald he was "a bit scared" about the operation but had confidence in Auckland City Hospital staff.

"This is a biggie, but I have every confidence in the team," he said. "We will get through."

Holmes had also been positive about his long-term prognosis, including a return to work as a Newstalk ZB and TVNZ host and Weekend Herald columnist.

A statement issued on behalf of Holmes and his wife, after he was placed in the coma, thanked the public for their support.