Birds and aircraft tumbled from the sky, and car crashes were reported all over the country, as news broke that Sir Paul Holmes had died.
Outside the Auckland offices of Newstalk NZ eight veteran journalists self-immolated in a glowing tribute to the departed broadcaster.
“This is what Paul would have wanted,” said one of them as he poured petrol over his entire body, lit a match, and was engulfed in a blazing inferno of hellish nightmarish death.
News of the broadcasting icon’s passing brought proceedings at the United Nations to a standstill, and left United States President Barack Obama in shock and struggling to cope.
When asked what he thought of the departed media luminary, Obama told reporters, “I don’t think I know who that is.” Experts say that denial, memory loss and confusion are common symptoms of overwhelming grief.
In Auckland traumatised Jetstar aircrews were unable to work, resulting in huge delays for passengers, though nobody noticed anything out of the ordinary.
Meanwhile, some airfields were closed after a number of light aircraft crashed shortly after news of Holmes’ death was made public.
A number of strange prodigies have been reported in various parts of the country.
People in Timaru reported seeing birds falling unexpectedly from the skies, a statue spoke in Dunedin, and in Hamilton a virgin gave birth.
Outside the offices of TVNZ, where Holmes worked for many years, there were scenes of mayhem as thousands of people stood outside, tearing at their hair and clothes, and screaming in despair at God’s cruelty.
TVNZ bosses have pleaded for calm, and have asked that no further flowers be left outside their offices. The wall of flower bouquets outside the main entrance of the TVNZ building is already seven metres tall, and if it collapses it could kill dozens of people.
Jennifer Stagwurt was typical of the mourners standing outside TVNZ’s offices.
Though she had never met Sir Paul, she said he had changed her life.
“He touched me in a deep and personal way every night,” she said.
“I never missed a show. He didn’t just change New Zealand. He changed the world. He ended two Gulf Wars, fed the starving millions in Africa, and deposed despots, and yet he still remained humble to the very end.
“God bless you, Paul. God bless you.”
“Despite his diminutive stature he bestrode the broadcasting world like a great big striding thing,” wrote newspaper columnist Norman Drover in his Saturday opinion piece. “Like a great beast of the forest, or a dinosaur, or a large man on stilts.
“We will never see his likes again. Never. Never never. Never never never. Never never never never.
“He was our People’s Princess.”