Kim Knight talks the art of health


In February’s edition of Crewed, Tony Forster took a look at some of the changes coming in April’s new Health & Safety At Work legislation. His look focused on the safety side of work, and the potential new implications when things go awry. This month Kim Knight, a 2011 finalist in the Next New Zealand Woman of the Year awards, looks at the other side of the health and safety coin, that of prevention and cure.

Earlier in her career Knight did a couple of stints in the screen industry, but health issues forced her to take a different path. After a decade-long journey back to health Knight’s now helping others overcome their own health issues.

Originally from the UK, Knight always dreamt of a career in screen production even before coming to New Zealand. Her long-term interest in film led her to enrol in a week-long course in 1994 at the then recently-formed South Seas Film & TV School. The course led Knight to a quick decision to take her interest much more seriously and enrol in South Seas’ year-long program. Around the same time Knight received a pay-out from a long-running insurance claim following an accident years previously in the UK, which covered the cost of the South Seas course.

Knight completed her course around the time Hercules was crewing up. Unwittingly, with later regret (and embarrassment), she turned down a job as Production Secretary; after having worked for many years as an office PA, and having just spent a year studying to get into the film industry, being a “secretary” wasn’t what she had in mind!

Knight did some contracting work for TVNZ and Greenstone Pictures, and then moved into a full-time role at Projected Images, focusing on corporate rather than broadcast work. However a year into that she was forced to stop work with burnout and chronic fatigue syndrome.

The next five years were spent seeking solutions to an illness which mystified doctors, including trying over 140 therapies, but having made little progress started to wonder if she may actually not ever recover. She sold her house and set off round the world still looking for answers, which she eventually found. Her turning point was learning the poorly understood reality of how ongoing stress and unresolved emotional issues are major contributing factors in debilitating pain, exhaustion and illness. For the next two years Knight focused on implementing the solutions she had learnt, making significant progress in that time.

Feeling well enough to work again in 2002 (by now seven years off work), Knight returned to the screen industry, this time with a focus to find work in screen production.

Her second stint saw her in production manager / AD roles on sundry short films including Henchman, directed by the then unknown Roseanne Liang (My Wedding and Other Secrets), various TVCs, and Daybreak Pacific’s telefeature Terror Peak directed by Dale Bradley (Chunuk Bair). Her time also included a brief stint in Hollywood working on various short films whilst applying for the Assistant Directors Training Program in Los Angeles. After being accepted into the program, the lack of a green card prevented her taking up the offer, and she returned to New Zealand.