Angel Eve 'guiding Holmes through'
"He'll be with Eve now," says the mother of Eve van Grafhorst, the brave little girl with HIV who won the hearts of Paul Holmes and the nation before her short life came to an end.
Eve was 11 when she died in the arms of her mother, Gloria Taylor, in 1993. Holmes befriended Eve and championed her battle over the years before her death.
In an interview broadcast just days before his death, Holmes said that of all the issues he had covered, Eve's story was the most memorable.
"You couldn't help but love that little girl."
He wanted to show the public that being around someone with Aids did not mean you would get sick.
"I said that you can pick a little girl up who is riddled with this disease and you're not going to catch it yourself and die. You can let her kiss you."
Holmes became close to Eve's family, whom he hosted at his house with his young children Millie and Reuben.
Speaking from her home in England, Taylor said there was nothing artificial about Holmes' affection for Eve.
"She loved him, loved him very much. They were very close, very close indeed. I bet you she's there guiding him through all of this.
"And I'm certain he'd have been thinking of her too, actually, and the strength she showed in her time at the end."
When "Angel Eve" lived in Australia as a toddler, she was harassed, spat on and had burning cigarettes thrown at her.
The abuse by strangers towards the small child eventually forced her mother to pack up their family and flee to New Zealand. In Hastings, Eve found solace.
She was born prematurely and caught HIV from a contaminated blood transfusion.
"Paul was involved with a lot of people as part of the Holmes show. He was just so supportive," Taylor said.
"When it was a story that was close to his heart he became very involved with those people and their families. He would make sure the story was told the way it really is. He wouldn't dramatise it any more than it was.
"He did the same thing with [daughter Millie's drug addiction]. He didn't hide behind it. He fought for it. That's who he is.
"He fights for the things he believes in."
Taylor last spoke to Holmes last year, when he interviewed her on radio about a 4-year-old boy with HIV whose mother claimed he was asked to leave his early childhood centre.
The Dominion Post