He was recently named the most trusted member of the New Zealand media – but Weekly consumer columnist Kevin Milne’s honest and open nature has sometimes worked against him. The former Fair Go presenter, who was number seven on the Reader’s Digest 2012 list of trusted New Zealanders, has been so frank about his ill health of the new life Kevin has established since leaving Fair Go two years ago.
Despite admitting he’s carrying a little extra weight, Kevin looks relaxed and happy in his home, which is filled with vintage radios and gadgets – many of which were bought on Trade Me to the dismay of his wife, Linda.
The rural home is also Kevin’s office where he’s kept busy working on his popular Weekly column, a weekly radio slot and corporate videos, as well as doing promotional work for Air New Zealand and Carpet Mill. But despite his exciting new ventures, health worries still managed to get in the way.
After a bad run in the past few years, Kevin was last year looking forward to his first Christmas without ill health looming over him. But a high reading in a routine prostate specific antigen (PSA) test rang alarm bells for his doctor and he was sent off further examination. “I thought, ‘Here we go again,’” says Linda (56). “It was really unfair it would happen to him again. I try not to worry, but you can’t help it.”
After an intense biopsy, Kevin found out just before Christmas that no cancer was found. Although he doesn’t want to be known as “the sick guy”, living with the after-effects of the tumour removal has become a daily reality for him.
Along with picking up and dropping off his 10-year-old daughter Tommie at school each day, taking hormone replacement pills are also part of his routine. He also takes medication for adult acne – a side effect of the hormones – and gets regular testosterone injections.
He says although it is painful, the injections make him feel a little bit like a Kapiti Coast rock star. “Robbie Williams gets the injection voluntarily. It restores your youthful vigour,” he adds with a laugh.
His run-ins with illness have made Kevin very philosophical. He was approached by a production company to make a show called Eat, Pray, Kev, where he was set to travel around the world exploring religions of different cultures. The show hasn’t yet been picked up by a TV network – which is a big disappointment to Kevin.
The networks also weren’t keen on another idea he had – a documentary series about dying New Zealanders, reflecting on what they considered worthwhile about their lives – but Kevin thinks the series is still important.
“I know from experience that when you’re about to be wheeled into an operating theatre, that is when you put some serious thought into life. “There must be things that people who are dying wish they had done more of in life.”
Juggling his various work commitments, Kevin loves that he has managed to have more time to spend time with Tommie on their rural property, which borders the Waikanae river. Kevin and Linda had Tommie later in life when their other children, Alex (29), Rory (26) and Jake (22), were in their teens. Spending most of her life without her brothers living at home has meant Tommie experienced a different upbringing to them.
“I think I’m a better father now that I’m older,” says Kevin, who is in charge of taking Tommie to school, ballet, drama, science club and swimming each week. Kevin hopes his sons will play a big role in her life when she becomes a teen. “I hope the boys act like a buffer to a father who will by then be near his seventies.”