Looking back, p5
By Amy Shanks
Before he found fame, before that powerful voice first boomed into our consciousness and his face beamed into living rooms throughout the country, Sir Paul Holmes was just a boy from Hawke’s Bay,
He never forgot those roots – taking the time to appear as a keynote speaker at school events, raise money for local charities and, most importantly, speak with his fans.
Sir Paul passed away peacefully early yesterday morning, surrounded by family at his Poukawa homestead. The 62-year-old had been battling heart problems and the return of prostate cancer.
More than just a broadcaster, Sir Paul was a loving husband and father, as well as a generous friend.
As those close to him struggled to come to grips with the loss, so too did Hawke’s Bay people who felt a close connection with the charismatic figure.
Moira Lindsay fondly remembers the veteran broadcaster’s continued support of Haumoana School, where he completed his primary education.
“He came to our 75th jubilee in 1996. He was a lot of fun, entertaining everyone,” she said.
“He came back again a few years later to record an episode of The Way We Were, we had a wonderful day with him.”
His humour shone through and made an impression on Mrs Lindsay, who was tasked with taking care of his wallet and chequebook for the day.
“He just said ‘Here, take these’. The next question was, ‘Where is the little boys’ room?’ I said, ‘Same place it has always been, round the back.’
“He was just very, very easy, comfortable and funny. When the staff come back, we will do something special for him.”
She also recalled a young Paul mowing lawns at the local church to earn some pocket money.
“It was my husband’s mother who paid him the 10 bob to do it, he was just a teenager. We met him on a ferry once too, my husband said, ‘Paul!’ He looked a bit sceptical at first but, once he explained he was Ian Lindsay from Haumoana, they nattered away for the rest of the trip.”
Sir Paul went on to attend Karamu High School in Hastings, where he was involved with the debating club and rowing team, alongside younger brother Ken.
He was also a prefect and received his honours blazer pocket in 1967 for rowing and public speaking.
Karamu High School principal Martin O’Grady said: “A lot of people are quite surprised at his involvement in rowing.”
Sir Paul attended the school in the 1960s, and had returned on several occasions, including to lecture students on the danger of methamphetamine in his campaign against “P”.
Bit it was the sacrifice he made to speak at Karamu’s golden jubilee on Labour
Continued on p3
Photo caption – ONE OF US: Despite fame and fortune, Sir Paul Holmes, who died early yesterday, never forgot his roots as a Hawke’s Bay boy. PHOTO GLENN TAYLOR