Career

Shortland St star Kim Garrett on the sacrifices she made to be on the show

''I always check with them first and if they are not keen, I'm willing to turn anything down.''

Many actors wouldn’t think twice about taking a role on hit hospital soap Shortland Street, but Kim Garrett needed to get the blessing of two very important people first.

Kim (39), who has called Christchurch home for the past 16 years, had to make a difficult decision whether to leave her sons Quentin (20) and Aidan (12) in the Garden City when she was offered the role as Te Rongopai Rameka on New Zealand’s biggest soap.

“I have always been the working parent throughout their youth so they are used to me being off and about, just not for this length of time,” explains Kim.

“But I always check with them first and if they are not keen, I’m willing to turn anything down.”

Kim with her sons Aidan (12) and Quentin (20)

The actress was born in the Bay of Plenty but made the decision to set up a home base in Christchurch as her children were growing up.

Thankfully for Kim, her sons, as well as her ex-husband and mother, have always been really supportive of her career and wholeheartedly backed her decision to move for her first role on television.

“They always ask what I want to do and whatever I decide they will always support,” Kim says of her family.

While she may be madly missing her boys in Canterbury, a familiar face was there to help the actress settle in Auckland, especially at work.

During a conversation with friend and former Shortland Street actress, Luanne Gordon (Norelle Brown), Kim mentioned her search to find somewhere to live and before she knew it she was moving in with a “Jackie”.

Kim shares a laugh on set with Ben Mitchell who plays Dr TK Samuels.

What Kim didn’t know was that Jackie was none other than Jacqueline Nairn, who played nurse Wendy Cooper on the soap for five years and is now a director on the show.

“I didn’t know who she was before I turned up on the doorstep and went, ‘You look very familiar.’ She said, ‘Why yes, I used to be on Shortland Street,'” chuckles Kim.

“She has such a big heart and she was willing to help me in every possible way with understanding the schedules, scripts and how fast-paced it is!”

Despite the joy of meeting Jackie’s many good friends such as Amanda Billing, who played Sarah Potts, Kim admits the only downside was Jackie’s home was never big enough to have her sons come and stay.

So she decided a short while ago to find a place of her own.

“It’s been the hardest thing for me not being able to be there, but we do regular visits so that I can sustain myself,” says Kim. “I miss them every day.”

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