Prominent New Zealanders are paying tribute to Sir Paul Holmes (62), who died at his home in Hawke's Bay today.
Prime Minister John Key told NBR ONLINE: "It is a sad day for New Zealand and an extremely sad day for his family.
"But he would have been proud of what he packed into his 62 years. He was a proud New Zealander and I was proud to call him a friend."
My Key says it was important on behalf of New Zealanders that Sir Paul was honoured with a knighthood to acknowledge the achievements of his life.
He says Sir Paul was a unique interviewer: "He had the capacity to change gears very easily. He had the human touch but could then go straight to the heart of what he was interviewing you about.
"But it was always with grace and dignity and a giggle once the camera had been turned off."
Mr Key says some of his more robust interviews hd been with Sir Paul Holmes.
"In the end he had the respect of New Zealadners for what he did."
Earlier in a statement Mr Key said Sir Paul's passing is the end of a broadcasting era.
"Paul Holmes was a gentleman broadcaster.
"He conducted his interviews with intelligence and insightfulness, and while he never suffered fools, his interviews were never without kindness and empathy.
"He was a trailblazer in New Zealand journalism with a style that was all his own," Mr Key says.
"I also counted him as a friend and I want to personally acknowledge the pain Deborah, Lady Holmes, Millie and Reuben are now feeling and offer my heartfelt condolences.
"It was a privilege to be with him last month as he received his knighthood for services to broadcasting. I cannot think of anyone who deserved this more," Mr Key says.
TVNZ chief executive Kevin Kenrick says Sir Paul had a long and illustrious career at the broadcaster, where he has many friends.
"He's been part of the TVNZ family for so long – from our family to his we extend our deepest sympathy.
"Sir Paul redefined current affairs on New Zealand television for a generation and has been a leading light in the world of journalism in this country.
"His legacy will be remembered within TVNZ and across the industry for many years to come," Mr Kenrick says.
TV3 has also offered its condolences, with MediaWorks group managing director Sussan Turner, television chief executive Paul Maher and head of news Mark Jennings issuing a joint statement.
"Sir Paul Holmes was a colleague, friend and mentor to many of us at MediaWorks.
"He'll be sadly missed by his many friends and former co-workers across our business, and the broadcasting industry as a whole.
"Paul was a formidable competitor who lifted the bar for broadcasting in both radio and television. His impact on the media landscape over the past two decades can't be over-estimated.
"While Paul was fiercely competitive on the screen and behind the microphone, in private he was always quick to lend his support and provide advice.
"His charisma and natural empathy with Kiwis from all walks of life, as well as his willingness to roll up his sleeves and get the job done won him the respect of colleagues and rivals alike.
"The thoughts of everyone at MediaWorks are with Sir Paul's family and friends at this sad time," the statement says.
New Zealand First leader Winston Peters says he didn't always agree with Sir Paul during their professional relationship, but he held him in high regard.
"He was hugely talented, creative and hard working, and one of our best journalists.
"Sir Paul was one of a rare breed who was modest enough to know that sometimes you win arguments, and other times you lose.
"He will be sorely missed and we wish his family, friends and colleagues all the best in these trying times," Mr Peters says.