Poor health didn't stop broadcaster Sir Paul Holmes from enjoying every minute of the knighthood ceremony held in his honour at his Hawke's Bay home today.
Prime Minister John Key joined friends and family of Sir Paul at his picturesque Poukawa property, for an investiture that was fast-tracked and held away from the traditional Auckland and Wellington Government House venues.
Looking frail following recent heart surgery and battles with prostate cancer, Sir Paul got a standing ovation following the ceremony in a marquee on his front lawn.
Afterwards, he said the knighthood was for all broadcasters who were often under-recognised, and hoped it would also be appreciated by the organisations he assisted, including the Paralympics.
He acknowledged his wife Lady Deborah, and children, and said it would have been a proud moment for his late parents.
Asked about his health, he said he had to face up to reality and accept that the long and well-earned retirement he had plotted years ago would be a lot shorter than hoped.
"It's not good. I don't think Houdini will do it this time particularly."
As well as having battled cancer and heart problems, Sir Paul has twice survived crash landings of his Tiger Moth aeroplane.
Mr Key said Sir Paul was an "incredible New Zealander" who had achieved both in broadcasting and within his community.
The relationship between the pair had always been professional, and tough interviews had generally ended with handshakes.
While Sir Paul's health was not good, his spirits were very much intact, Mr Key said.
Sir Paul said he planned to take things a day at a time and enjoy his new title.
"I want everybody to call me sir."