Hundreds farewell Sir Paul Holmes

20:21, Feb 08 2013
Paul Holmes
Paul Holmes speaks to media after he received his knighthood to a standing ovation from more than 100 people who gathered at his Poukawa, Hawke's Bay home.
Paul Holmes
Sir Paul Holmes with Lady Deborah after receiving his knighthood.
Sir Paul Holmes hearse
Local iwi perform a haka as the body of Sir Paul Holmes is taken from his Hawke's Bay property.
Hundreds farewell Sir Paul Holmes
Mourners arrive at the funeral of Sir Paul Holmes.
Hundreds farewell Sir Paul Holmes
Mourners, including TV presenter Jude Dobson, right, arrive at the funeral of Sir Paul Holmes.
Hundreds farewell Sir Paul Holmes
Rugby great Jonah Lomu arrives at the funeral of Sir Paul Holmes.
Hundreds farewell Sir Paul Holmes
Mourners, including news reader Eric Young, left, arrive at the funeral for Sir Paul Holmes.
Hundreds farewell Sir Paul Holmes
Brendon Telfer, right, and Phil Gifford arrive at the funeral for Sir Paul Holmes.
Hundreds farewell Sir Paul Holmes
Mourners arrive at the funeral of Sir Paul Holmes.
Hundreds farewell Sir Paul Holmes
Mourners, including Seven Sharp presenter Alison Mau, right, arrive for the funeral of Sir Paul Holmes.
Hundreds farewell Sir Paul Holmes
The casket of Sir Paul Holmes lying in Auckland's Holy Trinity Cathedral.
Hundreds farewell Sir Paul Holmes
Mourners are seated in Auckland's Holy Trinity Cathedral for the funeral of Sir Paul Holmes.
Hundreds farewell Sir Paul Holmes
Mourners at the funeral of Sir Paul Holmes.
Hundreds farewell Sir Paul Holmes
Reporter Rod Vaughan arrives at the funeral of Sir Paul Holmes.
Hundreds farewell Sir Paul Holmes
Radio and television personalities, from left to right, Barry Soper, Phil Gifford and Brendon Telfer arrive for the funeral of Sir Paul Holmes.
Hundreds farewell Sir Paul Holmes
The funeral of Sir Paul Holmes at Auckland's Holy Trinity Cathedral.
Hundreds farewell Sir Paul Holmes
Mourners stand inside Auckland's Holy Trinity Cathedral.
Hundreds farewell Sir Paul Holmes
The funeral of Sir Paul Holmes at Auckland's Holy Trinity Cathedral.
Hundreds farewell Sir Paul Holmes
MP Nick Smith arrives at the funeral of Sir Paul Holmes.
Hundreds farewell Sir Paul Holmes
Mike Williams revises his speech ahead of the funeral of Sir Paul Holmes.
Hundreds farewell Sir Paul Holmes
Broadcaster Mike McRoberts, right, arrives with his wife Paula Penfold.
Hundreds farewell Sir Paul Holmes
From left to right, Mark Crysall, Mark Sainsbury and Cameron Bennett arrive at the funeral for Sir Paul Holmes.
Hundreds farewell Sir Paul Holmes
Dame Rosie Horton arrives at the funeral for Sir Paul Holmes.
Hundreds farewell Sir Paul Holmes
Auckland mayor Len Brown arrives at the funeral for Sir Paul Holmes.
Hundreds farewell Sir Paul Holmes
Sir Paul's casket arrives at Auckland's Holy Trinity Cathedral.
Hundreds farewell Sir Paul Holmes
Sir Bob Harvey, left, and Andrew Young ahead of the funeral for Sir Paul Holmes.
Hundreds farewell Sir Paul Holmes
MP John Banks arrives at the funeral of Sir Paul Holmes.
Hundreds farewell Sir Paul Holmes
Former Breakfast presenter Petra Bagust, right, arrives at the funeral of Sir Paul Holmes.
Hundreds farewell Sir Paul Holmes
Broadcaster Murray Deaker arrives at the funeral of Sir Paul Holmes.
Hundreds farewell Sir Paul Holmes
Candy Lane, centre, arrives at the funeral of Sir Paul Holmes.
Hundreds farewell Sir Paul Holmes
The funeral of Sir Paul Holmes at Auckland's Holy Trinity Cathedral.
Hundreds farewell Sir Paul Holmes
The casket of Sir Paul Holmes, inside the Holy Trinity Cathedral.
Hundreds farewell Sir Paul Holmes
The casket of Sir Paul Holmes leaves the Holy Trinity Cathedral.
Hundreds farewell Sir Paul Holmes
Millie Elder-Holmes, centre, is comforted outside the Holy Trinity Cathedral.
Hundreds farewell Sir Paul Holmes
Family and friends of Sir Paul Holmes outside the Holy trinity Cathedral following the funeral for Sir Paul Holmes.
Hundreds farewell Sir Paul Holmes
Sir Paul Holmes' children Millie and Reuben, at his funeral.
Hundreds farewell Sir Paul Holmes
Millie Elder-Holmes, right, and Lady Deborah, centre.
Hundreds farewell Sir Paul Holmes
The service concluded with a combination of bagpipes and a haka performed by Karamu High School students.

Clever, charming, courageous, a bit mad and a ''cheeky little whitey'', that was Sir Paul Holmes, his funeral has been told.

The veteran broadcaster died, aged 62, last Friday, surrounded by his family at his Hawke's Bay home after battling cancer and heart problems.

Paul Holmes
Broadcaster Paul Holmes signs off from his radio breakfast show for the last time, with his mother Chrissie.
Paul Holmes
Paul Holmes during his last week at his Newstalk ZB studio in Auckland, in December 2008.
Paul Holmes
Paul Holmes in court during the drugs trial of his adopted daughter Millicent Elder in 2008.
Paul Holmes
Deborah and Paul Holmes.
Paul Holmes
TVNZ's former Q+A Team (L-R) Guyon Espiner, Dr Jon Johansson, Dr Therese Arseneau, Paul Holmes.
Paul Holmes
Paul Holmes, Judy Bailey and John Hawkesby hosted the 1990 Telethon.
Paul Holmes
Paul Holmes with Winston Peters.
Paul Holmes
The broadcaster wrote about the Erebus air crash in his 2011 book Daughters of Erebus.
Paul Holmes
Paul Holmes gets a wipe down before a televised Leader's Debate at Avalon studios.
Paul Holmes
Paul Holmes with his a vintage Second World War training aircraft.
Paul Holmes
Holmes crashed his plane into a deer fence on Ngamatea Station near Taihape in 2004.
Paul Holmes
Paul Holmes defected from TVNZ to Prime TV in 2005.
Paul Holmes
Paul Holmes began his broadcasting career in the 1970s.
Paul Holmes
Broadcaster Paul Holmes receives a standing ovation after being knighted by Governor-general Jerry Mateparae.

He was farewelled yesterday by close to a thousand people, including fellow broadcasters, sports stars, politicians and his beloved family, at Auckland's Holy Trinity Cathedral.

John Hawkesby, friend and fellow broadcaster, said 62 was way too young to die.

He said Holmes was no saint, not even close, and he would not have wished to be canonised. He chanced his arm and dared to dream.

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Sir Paul Holmes
REMEMBERED: Sir Paul Holmes at his family home, Mana Estate, in Poukawa, Hawkes Bay.

Holmes had written a column on Hawkesby's career demise, enraging him. He later apologised on stage at an event.

"I got emotional, we hugged" said Hawkesby, who realised he was in the presence of a ''big, kind man''. From there they became great friends.

He spoke of attending a barbecue with Holmes and having to go home to get more wine. Holmes chose the most expensive bottle.

"Paul, never known for his subtlety said: 'Well I'd like to try it'," Hawkesby recounted to laughter.

He then told Hawkesby they weren't going to ''waste it on the punters over there, we'll knock it off", Hawkesby said.

He was half expecting Holmes to throw open the coffin and say: ''See, I can do it. I told you. Twice as long as the other guy.''

He closed, saying goodbye to a ''clever, charming, courageous, cheeky little whitey''.

His daughter Millie broke down as she read a piece quoting her father.

"Love always wins, it might take longer than evil or hatred but love always wins.

"Find out who you are and know who you are, and know your strengths and weaknesses.

"Be brave even if you are frightened," she said tearfully.

"And don't worry if you are different from everyone else, we're all different."

One of his oldest friends, Peter Beavan, painted a picture of Holmes standing at the ''pearly gates'' with "microphone in hand, waiting for the really big interview".

He told a story about going out on the town with Holmes one night in Wellington, and they bumped into All Black Jerry Collins in a bar.

He said he turned around to see Holmes and Collins in an embrace. He was worried.

However, Holmes returned and told him Collins was just saying how his family watched the Holmes Show and his dad had told him: ''Son, there is a white man you can trust.''

The interlude came only a short time after Holmes' controversial ''cheeky darky'' comment.

"Paul was colour blind, and never had a racist bone in his body," Beaven said.

He talked of their times together at school and university, where Holmes took a passionate interest in the stage.

He told of a former German girlfriend sending Holmes a postcard. It was sent to Paul Holmes, New Zealand, wherever you are. She wrote she had been dreaming of him the night before and had an orgasm, ''thank you''.

He said anyone who saw Holmes with his step-daughter Millie in the past months could have no doubt about the strength of his love.

''A life all too short, go gentle my friend.''

Mike Williams, a close friend a former Labour party president, told mourners Holmes' craft was words: on radio, television and in newspapers.

Williams said Holmes revelled in the English language, particularly older words.

He said he and Holmes were blessed by the girls who they adopted and cared for. He spoke of Holmes' crusade  against methamphetamine following Millie's battle with the drug.

Williams joked about Holmes' political ambitions, after he once mooted a tilt at the Auckland mayoralty.

He said Holmes had a "mad streak", and in recognition of that they had left one of the screws on the casket loose.

Williams finished by saying: ''Sleep well my dear friend. Grief is the price we pay for love.''

Brent Harman, Holmes' friend and former boss at Newstalk ZB and TVNZ, lauded Holmes' ability as a broadcaster and journalist.

He was a true ''great'' and dominated his field.

Harman said ratings plummeted when Holmes first took the helm of the ZB breakfast show in Auckland, with Bob Harvey saying at the time he was "incoherent" and "impossible".

"A quick piece of advice, fire him," Harman recalled Harvey saying.

But Holmes soon turned out to be a change for the better.

Bill Francis, a friend and colleague, said he never doubted Holmes was the "greatest broadcaster of our time, of all time".

His understanding of history gave him perspective on so many issues, he said.

Holmes would finish a script in a news bulletin and deliver it with the finesse of the theatre, he said.

"He wanted success more than anyone I ever knew," he said. "He also worked harder than anyone I ever knew."

Paralympics New Zealand's Duane Kale described Holmes as a ''truly great New Zealander... one who had an interest in all people''.

He said Holmes brought the paralympics into the forefront of Kiwis' minds.

An auction and dinner organised by Holmes helped the New Zealand team make the 1996 Paralympic games.

Holmes was Paralympic New Zealand's patron for more than 15 years.

"At times I felt he was too obsessed and thought he might become a paralympian himself, with the plane crash, helicopter crash and numerous others," he said to laughs.

"Paul changed lives, he inspired many, he changed perceptions.

"Paul we will miss you, we will never forget you. Rest in peace my friend."

KIND WORDS FROM MOURNERS

Hundreds of people took their seats at Auckland's Holy Trinity Cathedral by 12.30pm, as requested, for the 1pm start of the funeral, filing past the black hearse outside the cathedral.

Among the guests were rugby star Jonah Lomu and fellow broadcasters Ali Mau, newsreader Bernadine Oliver-Kerby and media commentator Bill Ralston.

Students from Holmes' high school, Karamu High in Hastings, arrived at the funeral in uniform with principal Martin O'Grady.

"He always was really generous with his acknowledgement of our school," O'Grady said.

"He's our first knight, we're really proud."

Year 13 student Kahu Ferris said Holmes, a former prefect, left a legacy to aspire to.

"Some of us want to strive to be like him. It's an honour to come up and see him off."

TV presenter Jason Gunn had kind words for Holmes, who he had written a poem about.

"I was lucky to have known him, on Dancing with the Stars and he other times we shared together.

"He gave me advice in what I shouldn't do on the screen and helped win me contracts.

"There are plenty of knockers out there but he did what he told me, 'you keep doing what you like to do'."

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