Paul Henry (broadcaster)

Paul Henry Hopes (born 4 August 1960), known professionally as Paul Henry, is a New Zealand radio and television broadcaster who was the host of the late night show The Paul Henry Show on New Zealand's TV3 which ended December 2014 so that Henry could host a new cross platform three-hour breakfast show Monday to Friday on TV3, RadioLive and on line. Paul Henry launched on 7 April 2015 and initially had an audience larger than the two shows it replaced on radio and TV. For nine months in 2012, he also co-hosted an Australian television show, Breakfast, which ceased production on 30 November 2012, due to low ratings.[1][2][3]

Paul Henry
Paul Henry in 2008
Paul Henry Hopes

(1960-08-04) 4 August 1960
Auckland, New Zealand
ResidenceAuckland, New Zealand
OccupationTV anchor/Radio Host
EmployerMediaworks New Zealand
Spouse(s)Rachael Hopes (nee Orsman) (divorced)
Partner(s)Linzi Dryburgh
ChildrenLucy, Sophie, Bella
Parent(s)Brian and Olive Hopes (separated)

Early life

Paul Henry Hopes was born in Auckland, New Zealand,[4] to Brian and Olive Hopes,[5] on 4 August 1960.[6] He attended Cockle Bay Primary in Howick, Auckland.[7] His parents separated when he was 11, and in 1971 he moved with his English-born mother to Bristol, United Kingdom, where he finished his education and won a drama school scholarship. Paul and his mother Olive lived in a council flat. Olive worked triple shifts in a plastic bag factory to make ends meet.[8] Henry says that when he was 25 he discovered that his grandmother was a "Gypsy".[8]

Television and radio career

New Zealand

Henry has been a radio and television presenter in New Zealand, where he was born and has spent the majority of his career. Henry has been a backup host for current affairs show Close Up. After numerous controversies on morning talk show Breakfast which he hosted between 2004 and 2010, Henry was involved in a high-profile scandal in October 2010 involving his pronunciation and ridicule of the name of Indian politician Sheila Dikshit. The scandal culminated in Henry's resignation from TVNZ.

Paul Henry started his broadcasting career working for the BBC, as a studio assistant and in the mail room. He worked as a projectionist in the natural history unit, where, according to the Sunday Star Times, "David Attenborough would come in and Henry would play the rushes". Henry returned to New Zealand when he was 19 and worked as a producer on National Radio.[9] On radio, Henry worked as a breakfast host on 2ZD Radio Wairarapa from 1986 to 1990.

Henry left 2ZD to set up his own radio station, 'Today FM 89.3' in 1991, and worked as the breakfast host along with local identity Rick Long, and former 2ZD station manager John (Johnnie) Shearer. Notable employees of TODAY FM included Hilary Pankurst (now Barry), current co-host of Seven Sharp, and Georgina Beyer, who later became the world's first openly transsexual mayor and MP. The radio station had a unique local format including morning talkback with Rick Long. Henry hosted the breakfast show with his former manager, John Shearer. The breakfast show gave Henry free licence to shamelessly promote his radio station. His co-host Shearer was often at the receiving end of Henry's jokes. Henry would famously say he doesn't want to hurt his feelings and every morning when Shearer signed off, Henry would warn listeners to "take care on the roads now John Shearer's on the roads". At one time the station even flew a helicopter through the breakfast show with Shearer reporting from the air.

Henry hosted six breakfast shows per week and often worked late at night and right across the weekend at the station, with outside live broadcasts. In 1992, Henry sold the station to the owner of Port FM, which rebranded the station as HITZ 89FM. Today the station exists as More FM 89.5, 105.5 Wairarapa. For a time there were three radio stations in Wairarapa, Today FM, Radio Wairarapa and Radio Pacific where Henry had hosted or co-hosted a breakfast show on each of the stations.

Henry went on to be a foreign correspondent for Radio Pacific and weekend talkback host. Paul Henry presented Radio Pacific's Breakfast - "The Morning Grill" with Arch Tambakis, then Pam Corkery in the mid 1990s. Later he was the drive host on Radio Pacific, then later Radio Live when the station launched in 2005 and again in 2007.

Moving into television, Henry co-hosted TVNZ's Breakfast between 2004 and 2010. In 2009, ratings for the show had improved to around 150,000 viewers from a base of around 100,000. He was also the 2007-2008 host of the New Zealand version of This Is Your Life and was also supposed to host the 2010 series, but did not, after numerous controversies involving the Breakfast programme. He was later replaced by Paul Holmes.[10] Henry won the People's Choice Award, Best Presenter at the 2010 Qantas NZ Film and Television Awards.[11] His outrageous acceptance speech has attracted more than 300,000 views on YouTube.[12]

On 10 October 2010, following Henry's controversial comments about the New Zealand Governor General, Sir Anand Satyanand, and the Delhi chief minister, Sheila Dikshit, TVNZ announced that Henry had resigned.[13][13][14][14][15] Paul Henry was forced to apologise.[16] In an interview the following month, Henry claimed that TVNZ, in particular chief executive Rick Ellis, had "capitalised" on him by encouraging him to be controversial on-air, adding that he believed it was wrong for the New Zealand Government to apologise to India for his remarks.[17]

On 1 April 2011, it was announced Paul Henry was returning to radio broadcasting with TVNZ's rival Mediaworks. From July that year, Henry replaced Maggie Barry as the host of Radio Live's drivetime show, a position he had held four years previously.[18] His tenure in the role would this time last just over half a year; Henry moved to Australia the following year to host Network Ten's new morning show.[19] Until this move, Henry was also reported to be working across several high-profile projects on TV3,[20] including a weekly Sunday evening show with the working title The Paul Henry Show,[21] later changed to be a New Zealand edition of the British comedy show Would I Lie to you? which aired in 2012 alongside the production of Henry's Australian show.[19]


In February 2012, Henry moved to Sydney, Australia to join Network Ten's morning show Breakfast as co-host.[22] The show debuted on 23 February 2012 to low ratings.[23] As in New Zealand, Henry's on-air comments caused controversy: in May 2012 he suggested asylum seekers could stay in people's linen cupboards, and implied they were "dirty".[24]

While in Australia, Henry maintained work in New Zealand media as an Australian correspondent for Radio Live and as the host of Would I Lie to you? on TV3[25] He made guest appearances on Network Ten programs The Project and The Circle, and was briefly considered as the host of the second series panel show Can of Worms, replacing Ian Dickson. However, the role went eventually to Chrissie Swan[26][27]

Due to low ratings, Henry's Breakfast was cancelled on 30 November 2012 after less than one year on air.[28] During the show's broadcast period, one of Henry's co-hosts and the show's executive producer quit, prompting speculation about whether the departures were due to tension with Henry.[29] A newspaper reported other staff at the network resented Henry, claiming many wouldn't look at him when he walked in the room, and were planning to boycott the Christmas party.[30] Both Henry and the low ratings of the show were continually lampooned by the comedy show The Hamster Wheel.

Breakfast's axing fueled speculation Henry would relocate to New Zealand and TVNZ to host a revamped edition of Close Up[31] Henry was offered the central anchor position on TVNZ's new primetime 7pm current affair programme, later titled Seven Sharp, but Henry chose instead to honour his existing contract with Mediaworks.[32]

Return to New Zealand

In 2011 Henry published an autobiography,[33] What Was I Thinking. The book was a bestseller upon release.[34] In 2013 he released another book, called Outraged also a bestseller.[35]

Henry returned to New Zealand after Breakfast ended; in late 2013 it was revealed that from 2014 Paul Henry would be hosting a late night current affairs show called The Paul Henry Show, which would replace the long-running Nightline.[36] The Paul Henry Show lasted one year; in early October 2014 Henry was announced as the presenter for Mediaworks' new breakfast show to air simultaneously on TV3 and Radio Live. This new venture, entitled Paul Henry, replaces both TV3's Firstline and Marcus Lush's morning segment on Radio Live.[37] In 2016, Henry departed Mediaworks and announced he would be entering a period of "semi-retirement", splitting his time between New Zealand and the United States, and producing wine.[38][39][40]

Personal life

Henry has divorced his wife Rachael Hopes (née Orsman[41]), with whom he had three children, Lucy, Sophie and Bella.[42][43] Henry is in a relationship with radio producer Linzi Dryburgh.[43][44]

In 2014 it was reported in an interview that Henry was a nudist,[45] which Henry has also stated on his show.[46]

Political career

Henry ran as the National Party candidate for the Wairarapa electorate in the 1999 general election. He lost to former radio colleague and New Zealand Labour Party candidate Georgina Beyer by 3,033 votes.[47]


Female facial hair

In March 2009, Henry caused offence by pointing out the facial hair of female guest anti-nuclear campaigner and Greenpeace worker Stephanie Mills. TVNZ stated that it had received a "handful" of complaints. Henry stated to the Sunday Star Times: "I certainly have no intention of apologising to people who have written in and complained. The key thing to me is what a fortunate life they must have that they can afford time and energy to complain about such an insignificant thing."[48]

Views on homosexuality

In August 2009, Henry referred to homosexuals as "unnatural", prompting a complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority, which regulates broadcast radio and television content within New Zealand. In February 2010, the Broadcasting Standards Authority declined to uphold the complaint.[49]

Susan Boyle

In November 2009, Henry sparked controversy when he called singer Susan Boyle 'retarded'. His comments led to almost 200 complaints to the Broadcasting Standards Authority and an apology from Television New Zealand.[50]

Governor-General of New Zealand Sir Anand Satyanand

In October 2010, Henry was again the subject of complaints after a live broadcast in which he asked Prime Minister John Key whether the Governor-General, Sir Anand Satyanand, was "even a New Zealander". Henry went on to ask "Are you going to choose a New Zealander who looks and sounds like a New Zealander this time"...."are we going to go for someone who is more like a New Zealander this time?"[16][51] Anand is of Indian descent but was born and raised in Auckland. Henry was criticised by Key, Labour leader Phil Goff and race relations commissioner Joris de Bres. Henry later apologised for his comments.[16][52] After initially expressing its support for Henry, TVNZ announced the following day that it had suspended the presenter for two weeks without pay.[53]

Sheila Dikshit

Following the decision to suspend Henry, TVNZ continued to air a clip in which Henry referred to Delhi's chief minister Sheila Dikshit during the 2010 Commonwealth Games as "the dipshit woman" and even pronouncing her surname as "Dick Shit" instead of "Dixit", going on to state that "it's so appropriate, because she's Indian, so she'd be dick-in-shit wouldn't she, do you know what I mean? Walking along the street... it's just so funny."[54] New Zealand Indian Central Association president Paul Singh Bains said the fact that TVNZ was still "promoting" the clip on its website showed it had "totally lost the plot" and was insensitive to the offence Henry had caused.[55] Following at least four complaints against the video, TVNZ removed it from the "Video extras" section of their website.[55] Henry's resignation polarised the New Zealand public, with supporters claiming he was a victim of political correctness, and critics accusing him of pandering to the lowest common denominator.[56]

India summoned New Zealand's high commissioner Rupert Holborow to protest against Henry's "racist and bigoted" comments, and Holborow expressed his regret for the "deep hurt" they had caused.[57]

Asylum seekers

On 16 May 2012, Henry was criticised for comments made on Breakfast regarding asylum seekers. When commenting on a newspaper article, about the Australian Government offering families money to house asylum seekers, Henry suggested that the idea could be "broadened out" saying: "I mean if this is all about saving money you could broaden it out. Why not criminals? Not murderers, but low level criminals. You could - the jails could be smaller and you could put them in homestay situations. The mentally ill". He later suggested the asylum seekers could be housed in linen cupboards. His remarks were featured on Media Watch.[58]

Henry caused further controversy on 27 August 2012 by suggesting on the programme that Asylum Seekers should "starve to death" following reports that they would be conducting a hunger strike over plans to shift them to Nauru. He issued an apology the following morning following public backlash on Twitter.[59]

See also


  1. "Ten to axe Breakfast". Mumbrella. 12 November 2012. Retrieved 12 November 2012.
  2. "Ten orders controversial Kiwi for breakfast". Sydney Morning Herald. 5 November 2011. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  3. "Paul Henry left holding fort as colleagues bail out". NZ Herald. 7 July 2012. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  4. "Paul Henry". NZ On Screen. Retrieved 5 October 2013.
  5. "What Paul Henry was thinking". 25 June 2011.
  6. "Paul Henry opens birthday gifts from Rob Fyfe". Radio Live. 4 August 2011. Archived from the original on 3 August 2016.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  7. "Facebook". Facebook. Retrieved 1 April 2017.
  8. Wichtel, Diana (23–29 December 2006). "Close Up & personal". New Zealand Listener. 206 (3476).
  9. Kim Knight (30 August 2009). "The man who eats guests for breakfast". The Sunday Star Times. Fairfax NZ Ltd. Retrieved 15 October 2010.
  10. "Paul Henry Suspended". NZ Herald. 5 October 2010. Retrieved 8 July 2012.
  11. "Paul Henry's outrageous awards speech". Stuff. Fairfax New Zealand Ltd. Retrieved 7 October 2010.
  12. Paul Henry Acceptance Speech - Qantas Film & Television Awards 2010. TVNZ. Retrieved 22 February 2012.
  13. Cyril Washbrook (10 October 2010). "Paul Henry resigns from TVNZ". The Spy Report. Media Spy. Retrieved 10 October 2010.
  14. "Paul Henry resigns amid uproar". One News. TVNZ. 10 October 2010. Retrieved 10 October 2010.
  15. "Paul Henry: I have resigned". Dannevirke News. 10 October 2010. Retrieved 14 October 2010.
  16. "TVNZ's Paul Henry slammed over Governor-General remarks". The Spy Report. Media Spy. 4 October 2010. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  17. Cyril Washbrook (15 November 2010). "Paul Henry claims he was exploited by TVNZ". The Spy Report. Media Spy. Retrieved 15 November 2010.
  18. "Paul Henry returns as RadioLIVE Drive host". MediaWorks. 1 April 2011. Retrieved 7 June 2011.
  19. Fisher, David (12 February 2012). "Paul Henry off to new job next week". Retrieved 31 October 2014.
  20. "Paul Henry to join MediaWorks". TV3. 1 April 2011. Retrieved 1 April 2011.
  21. Migone, Paloma (27 October 2011). "Paul Henry back on TV". Stuff. Retrieved 27 October 2011.
  22. Fisher, David; Glucina, Rachel (6 November 2011). "Paul Henry back for breakfast - in Aussie". The New Zealand Herald.
  23. "Paul Henry's slow-cooking brekkie". NZ Herald. 10 March 2012. Retrieved 8 July 2012.
  24. "Paul Henry offends Australian viewers". 3 News NZ. 16 May 2012.
  25. "Paul Henry's disjointed return to TV". 13 February 2012. Retrieved 8 July 2012.
  26. "Kiwi import Paul Henry may worm way into our hearts". Herald Sun. 28 April 2012. Retrieved 13 June 2012.
  27. "New hosting gig a real Can of Worms for Swan". Sydney Morning Herald. 20 July 2012. Retrieved 20 July 2012.
  28. "Australia's Channel Ten axes Paul Henry's Breakfast". 3 News NZ. 12 November 2012.
  29. "Behind the scenes rumours nag Breakfast". TV Tonight. 15 July 2012. Retrieved 4 August 2012.
  30. "Staff resented Paul Henry – newspaper". 3 News NZ. 13 February 2012.
  31. "Close Up already closed up". NZ Herald. 28 September 2012. Retrieved 26 October 2012.
  32. Milford, Catherine (26 November 2012). "Paul Henry's Shock Decision". New Zealand Woman's Weekly. New Zealand Magazines.
  33. "Paul Henry's memoirs lack bite". 2011. Retrieved 1 June 2011.
  34. Moore, Bill (27 June 2011). "Henry wins best-selling author race". Stuff. Retrieved 27 October 2011.
  35. Paul Henry: People love being outraged. 3 News NZ. 6 November 2013.
  36. Henry show replaces long-running Nightline. 3 News NZ. 2 November 2013.
  37. "Paul Henry's return to breakfast draws ire". Fairfax New Zealand. 14 October 2014.
  38. "Why Paul Henry never returned to our screens as promised". NZ Herald. 8 October 2017. ISSN 1170-0777. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  39. "Paul Henry is loving life after retiring from TV". Stuff. Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  40. Simich, Ricardo. "No telly for Paul Henry but plenty of wine". Retrieved 15 January 2018.
  41. "Paul Henry rolls with the punches". 6 December 2009.
  42. "Paul Henry's New Life: My Girls saved me'". Women's Weekly. 21 April 2013.
  43. "Mr Big - Paul Henry". New Zealand Herald. 18 December 2011.
  44. "Hosking v Henry: Heavyweights to lock horns in radio breakfast battle". New Zealand Herald. 14 October 2014.
  45. Hewitson, Michele (8 March 2014). "Michele Hewitson interview: Paul Henry - Entertainment - NZ Herald News". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved 4 March 2016. nudi
  46. WALTERS, LAURA (16 February 2016). "Paul Henry: I'm a nudist". Stuff. Retrieved 17 February 2016.
  47. "Electorate" (XLS). Retrieved 1 April 2017.
  48. Emma Page (29 March 2009). "Henry faces up to 'moustache-gate'". The Sunday Star Times. Fairfax New Zealand Ltd. Retrieved 13 October 2010.
  49. NZPA (22 February 2010). "Henry homosexuality comments OK - entertainment". The Sunday Star Times. Fairfax New Zealand Ltd. Retrieved 13 October 2010.
  50. "Paul Henry 'retard' complaints upheld". The Dominion Post. Fairfax New Zealand Ltd. 21 December 2009. Retrieved 13 October 2010.
  51. "Henry causes a stir - again". Stuff. 4 October 2010. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  52. "TV race row over Queen's N.Zealand representative". AFP. 4 October 2010. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  53. "TVNZ reverses course, suspending Paul Henry". The Spy Report. Media Spy. 5 October 2010. Retrieved 5 October 2010.
  54. "Dikshit giggles: New Henry drama". Stuff. 6 October 2010. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
  55. "Kiwi TV host now shown ridiculing Sheila Dixit". Indian Express. 6 October 2010. Retrieved 6 October 2010.
  56. Vass, Beck (15 January 2011). "Henry foes, fans evenly split". The New Zealand Herald.
  57. India condemns 'racist' remarks by New Zealand TV host, BBC News, 7 October 2010.
  58. "Paul Henry blasted for 'sick' refugee comments". NZ Herald. 16 May 2012.
  59. "Paul Henry apologises for "starve to death" asylum seeker comment". TV Tonight. 28 August 2012. Retrieved 28 August 2012.
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