Clattering plates and laughter filled the air at Auckland's Sails Restaurant this morning, as 120 guests gathered to listen to Paul Holmes broadcast his last breakfast show at radio station NewstalkZB.
Friends, clients, and colleagues past and present enjoyed a leisurely breakfast looking over the sparkling waters of Auckland's Waitemata Harbour.
Holmes' mother Chrissy, his wife Deborah and son Ruben were also there to wish him the best, along with Prime Minister John Key, former Labour prime minister Helen Clark and Labour leader Phil Goff.
It was a show packed with emotion and memories.
After 22 years in one of the most high pressure jobs in the industry, Holmes reminisced about good times and bad.
He reflected back to March 1987 soon after the new talk concept began and the ratings went through the floor to the times when the ratings soared from mid 1989.
Between news breaks, Holmes took a moment to munch down a Danish, while colleagues and friends dashed up to give him a congratulatory kiss and a hug.
He was joined by his successor Mike Hosking and regular guest Wendyl Nissen, who said she would miss waking up to Holmes every morning.
She joked that Hosking won't even talk to her off air.
Holmes said he was leaving the programme with no regrets, and was looking forward to continuing on the Saturday morning show.
He took telephone calls from various well-wishers, including former Olympic equestrian champion Mark Todd, former world squash champion Dame Susan Devoy and America's Cup yachtie Brad Butterworth.
Brooke Fraser flew in from Sydney to sing live with acoustic guitar.
NewstalkZB general manager Bill Francis said working with Holmes had been a rollercoaster ride.
"The main thing about it has been the fun we've had. We survived the scrapes and just put our heads down and had fun," Francis said.
"Paul has ultimately been a great team player and always encourages up and coming talent."
Holmes said he was deeply humbled about being touted as the "greatest broadcaster of our time".
And he had this message for young broadcasters trying to make it in the industry.
"If you believe you'll get there, you'll get there. If the opportunity comes, take it," Holmes said.
"Work hard and opportunities will present themselves. Timing is everything. Break some rules on air. Be daring and try new things."
He thanked rival broadcasters who had passed on their good wishes over the past few days.
As Holmes looked around the restaurant at the smiling faces beaming back at him, he thanked everyone for coming and making it such a special occasion.
He left his last breakfast show on NewstalkZB to a standing ovation, and with his voice slightly quavering as he said: "This was the Paul Holmes breakfast at NewstalkZB. Thank you so much for listening to us.
"I hope you have enjoyed the programme. Thank you very much for listening and thank you very much for coming.
"Four minutes to nine with NewstalkZB. This was the Paul Holmes breakfast."
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