Beloved New Zealand broadcaster Paul Holmes underwent surgery recently, related to the prostate cancer he suffered more than a decade ago. But the irrepressible TV host and author tells New Zealand Woman’s Weekly that reports of his demise are “greatly exaggerated”.
A Sunday newspaper report that Paul had been taken to Hawke’s Bay Hospital after a suffering a health scare sparked concern and fear from his many fans and friends.
But the 61-year-old presenter of TVNZ’s Q+A show was last week recuperating at his country estate in Hawke’s Bay after what he says was a scheduled hospital stay for surgery to “correct some old stuff” after the cancer treatment and radiotherapy, which “tends to churn things up inside.
“I came home and that night a little complication set in that was a bit alarming, but a couple of days later it was sorted,” Paul says. “So I’m fine. Simply and categorically, I’m fine.”
His wife, Deborah Hamilton- Holmes, tells him he’s ”onto life number 14”. Over the years Paul has had a number of brushes with death, including a helicopter crash which killed Kiwi cameraman Joe Von Dinklage in 1989. In 2004, Paul – a qualified pilot – survived two crash landings at Turangi and in Hastings.
He was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 1999. Paul says he was moved by the large number of people who contacted him over the past week. “I thank them all. I was very appreciative.”
While continuing his media work, his past year was consumed by the publication of his book, Daughters of Erebus – a critical and commercial success. “I’ve got a couple of ideas for another book,” he says.
“My favourite idea, which I ran past friends on the holidays, received a universal thumbs down. Deborah said she wouldn’t even pick it up in a bookshop, let alone buy it. So that, probably, is that.
I still believe in it, though. “ Paul says writing a book is a big commitment and he should take it easy for a while. “And stay in bed until 8.30 – because I can. Shocking, eh? I know. It appals me.”