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Health concerns speed up Paul Holmes' knighthood

Published: 5:47AM Tuesday January 08, 2013 Source: ONE News / Newstalk ZB

Sir Paul Holmes will be given his investiture next week following concerns about the veteran broadcaster's health.

Governor General Sir Jerry Mateparae agreed to a request made by Holmes' family to hold an early ceremony on January 16.

Sir Paul, 62, recently stepped down from his roles as a host on TV ONE's Sunday morning current affairs programme Q+A and Newstalk ZB's Saturday morning show for health reasons.

He had an operation last January for prostate cancer, which returned aggressively later in the year, and also underwent open-heart surgery in June.

Government House spokesman Antony Paltridge said the ceremony would be held in Hawke's Bay, but an exact location had not yet been finalised.

It is believed the ceremony will take place at Holmes' family home - an Olive farm in Poukawa.

Sir Paul told ONE News the news of his knighthood came from the Prime Minister on Christmas Day.

"I think I made a note, something like 11.32 in the morning the phone call came from John Key in Palm Springs," Sir Paul said.

"And we gossiped around for a while, I forget what we even talked about really. But he said 'But the main reason I'm phoning is on behalf of New Zealanders to be the first person to congratulate you on becoming Sir Paul.'

"I said 'wow', I said 'well thank God, that's wonderful, thank you'."

Sir Paul said he genuinely had no idea he was to receive the honour and it meant a lot to him on behalf of the wider broadcasting community.

He began his career on radio in Christchurch in the 1970s, taking over as Breakfast host of 1ZB in Auckland in 1987. He went on to also front his own nightly TVNZ news programme Holmes in 1989, and in more recent years hosted Q+A.

Sir Paul has been a fundraiser and spokesperson for many causes, particularly the Stellar Trust, which is active in the fight against the methamphetamine drug P.

- with Fairfax