Twelve Questions

Sarah Daniell poses 12 questions to well-known faces

Twelve Questions with Kim Hill

Kim Hill has hosted Radio NZ Saturday Morning Show for a decade. Hill was last week awarded “'radio personality of the year” in the International Media Excellence Awards. This online version features extra questions that couldn't fit in the print edition.

Kim Hill says she has no interest in reality TV or decaf coffee. Photo / David White
Kim Hill says she has no interest in reality TV or decaf coffee. Photo / David White

1. Are you euphoric? Besides the award, is this interview the highlight of your career?

Of course.

2. What does the award mean to you?

It means Radio New Zealand National is considered on the international stage. And that's great. It makes me feel patriotic. Which is lovely. I'm proud.

3. What are you doing in Foxton at a motel where the proprietor has a dog called 'Nigger'?

I come here to ride. I have a beautiful horse. He's gentle and lovely. I anthropomorphise and I know I shouldn't. But I can't help it. He's a twice-married plumber who likes to drink beer and doesn't talk a lot.

4. Do journalists ever reveal themselves or is it their trade to help others to reveal themselves?

I don't think so. I think there's a personality that is attracted to journalism, which likes to observe. It's a nightmare being interviewed. I hate it.

You slipped in under the radar. I never ever read anything - any interviews. If I started worrying about what they said I'd be so far up my own arse.

5. What is the most difficult question you've ever had to ask?

Difficult? I don't know about difficult but there was one that I knew had to be asked. When I interviewed Monica Lewinsky I asked her, was it a good idea to give the President a blowjob. You can't beat around the bush, if you'll forgive the expression. I had to ask. She just sort of gasped. I heard this sharp intake of breath on the end of the line. Americans don't ask questions like that.

6. In the years of talking with others, what have you discovered about yourself; what has surprised you about yourself?

I always thought of myself as shy. I was a shy person. I realise that I must've faked it till I 'made it'. Now I realise I'm not shy. It's like that cognitive dissonance thing. You shouldn't interview people if you are shy.

7. When have you been over-awed by an interview subject?

I get very nervy about people I have huge respect for, like Hilary Mantel. Because I don't want to bore them. I think, 'will they like me'. I don't want to bore them by asking them the same old questions. I get nervous about that.

8. What fascinates you ... what are you wide-eyed and curious about?

Probably latterly, it's science. I find it so difficult and so out there and so mysterious and whacky. It's absorbing because I'm always chewing it over and I always fail to understand it. It's like a mirage - it's beautiful and you want to grasp it but it's sort of not there.

9. What do you find unfathomably dull?

Reality TV. Decaffeinated coffee. And drunks.

10. What other media captivates you?

The New Yorker. The cartoons are very, very funny. I never read it online. I read the Arts and Letters Daily and sometimes they feature New Yorker articles and I avoid them because I want to sit down and read the magazine. I start at the back and work my way forwards. I'm not really sure why. You couldn't do that online.

11. When do you admonish yourself?

Quite a lot. I'm constantly admonishing myself after interviews in which I don't ask that question. It slides out of your mind and at the end, you're thinking, dammit. Mostly on Saturday Mornings I have the time, but sometimes that one question ... I just forget.

12. What is the most magnificent phrase in literature?

I have to quote the great and sainted Leonard Cohen - "There is a crack in everything. That's where the light gets in."

13. Whom do you revere?

Apart from Leonard? John Pilger. On a good day. I read him. I'm glad he's doing what he's doing. I never want to talk to him again. But if the world needs obsessive pricks, then he's doing good work. He is sanctimonious but if he is on the right side of the angels then we do need people like this, doing what they do.

14. Whom do you despise?

I despise whomever it was that went goat shooting on a hill I was riding on the other day. Someone shot a mother of a baby goat and I took it home. It was cowering and I put it in my jumper and took it home and tried to keep it alive. The SPCA gave it intravenous drugs but it died. Who would go killing goats at this time of year when they're having their babies? It's a shabby and shitty thing to have done and it's cruel. I despise gratuitous cruelty.

15. What drives you to distraction about the media?

Fox Television. It's mesmerisingly awful. Glenn Beck. He's unbelievable. Have you seen him? He's awful.

16. What vice would you take up in your dotage?

I'm hoping a whole new one will be invented just for me. One that makes you feel delighted to be alive. I'm terrified of ceasing to be delighted to be alive. So a drug that made you say, yes, everything's good; my hips work okay. I hope the pharmaceutical companies start work on that. Maybe there is a drug like that already.

17. When are you lost for words?

Now.

18. What has your daughter taught you?

That I have somehow managed to produce such a well-rounded, funny human being. She wants a job too, if anyone's reading this. She's interested in doing aid work, for an NGO.

19. When do you feel most sanguine about life?

When I'm in my garden. On a sunny day. When the birds are chirping and the chickens are clucking and the veges are growing. I go and start weeding or pruning and before you know it, two hours have gone by and I'm up to my knees in mud.

20. What characteristic or trait is most over-rated in a woman?

All the ones I don't have. Let's leave it at that.

- NZ Herald

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