TRIBUTES are flowing for veteran New Zealand broadcaster Sir Paul Holmes, who died from cancer at the age of 62.
‘He loved people and people loved him,”‘ his family said.
Holmes had been battling heart problems and had suffered a recurrence of prostate cancer.In a statement his family said he had died peacefully at home.
“More than just a broadcaster, Paul was a loving husband and father, as well as a generous friend. He loved people and people loved him.”
Prime Minister John Key said it was 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,” Key said.
“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,” Key said.
“Paul has been part of New Zealanders’ lives since the 1970s… 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 said Holmes was a passionate New Zealander.
“He had a fine sense of the ‘ordinary Kiwi’, along with an uncanny understanding of the issues of the day.
“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.”
TVNZ chief executive Kevin Kenrick said Holmes was an integral part of the organisation.
“Sir Paul had a long and illustrious career with TVNZ and he has many friends here. He’s been part of the TVNZ family for so long – from our family to his we extend our deepest sympathy.
“Sir Paul redefined current affairs on New Zealand television for a generation and has been a leading light in the world of journalism in this country.
“His legacy will be remembered within TVNZ and across the industry for many years to come.”
Holmes stopped working in November, and was a late addition to the New Year honours list, with the ceremony brought forward due to his poor health.
He has been suffering for much of the past year from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy – a genetic heart condition that thickens muscles and restricts bloodflow – and from prostate cancer.
He had open-heart surgery last year.