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Pop CultureJanuary 8, 2023

Who’s who on Treasure Island: Fans v Faves?


Meet the familiar – and not-so-familiar – faces of the castaways vying to win $50,000 for charity. 

Hot on the heels of Jesse Tuke’s impressive Celebrity Treasure Island win only a few months ago, the great TVNZ monolith has creaked open again and given us a new bounty of television riches. Treasure Island: Fans v Faves kicks off on January 30, but this time the nation’s favourite reality series has sailed to Fiji and taken a group of reality TV mega-fans with it.

Over the next few weeks, eight non-celebrities will compete against eight CTI favourites returning for a second crack at the Treasure Island crown, for the chance to win $50,000 for their chosen charity.

Fans v Faves is CTI with a twist, but will experience outweigh enthusiasm? Which celebrities will we see in the wild again, and which fan will watch their reality TV dreams come true? Most importantly, who will find the poo cave first? Let’s meet the castaways of Treasure Island: Fans v Faves.

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The Faves:

Alex King (2022)

Who:  Radio host and actor.

Best remembered on Treasure Island for: playing alongside her father, chaos agent Mike King, and spewing up her rice and beans in the flax bushes.

Why she’s back: “To be able to play on my own, how I would play the game. I’m able to play the game without being a dick. Love you, Dad.”

Art Green (2021)

Who: Television presenter, fitness and wellness ambassador, the original Bachelor NZ.

Best remembered for: Being put up for elimination in a Richie Barnett power move that went awry when Art was beaten by puzzle queen Brynley Stent in a fierce battle of rolly-polly-bally-ropy.

What he’s looking forward to: “Getting some sleep. With a three-year-old and a one-and-a-half-year-old, I haven’t had a full night’s sleep in three years.”

Joe Cotton (2004)

Who: More FM Southland breakfast radio announcer, member of TrueBliss.

Best remembered for: bowing to peer pressure and cheating during a Treasure Island challenge which involved Joe being…buried alive in a coffin? Shit the 2000s were wild.

On her strategy: “Don’t shit yourself on camera. Listen, when you get to a certain age and you’ve blown out your back twice, you’ve gotta be careful of these things.”

Josh Kronfeld (2004, 2005)

Who: Former All Black, TV presenter, physiotherapist.

Best remembered for: Winning back-to-back Treasure Island titles in 2004 (Celebrity Treasure Island) and 2005 (Superstars of Treasure Island, which also featured players from Australia and Ireland).

On whether he can win a third time: “I don’t really care. I just want to do the best by my charity. I think everybody will be trying to get rid of me as soon as they can.”

Lana Searle (2021)

Who: More FM breakfast radio announcer.

Best remembered for: Being the mastermind behind the all-female Ovary Agreement, and for buying a $1 pizza in a challenge auction that made Richie Barnett really mad.

Why she’s come back: “I couldn’t deal with the fact that if I said no, I’d see other people having so much fun. As I said yes, I thought ‘you’re gonna hate yourself’ but I said yes anyway. I remember the feeling of being eliminated last time and being gutted, but then driving away in the crew car and being like, ‘that was an absolute blast’.”

Lance Savali (2021)

Who: DJ, dancer, coolest person on the planet.

Best remembered for: Being runner up to Chris Parker, and for being a strategic mastermind who still managed to stay mates with everyone.

On how he prepared for his return: “You can’t prepare for a show like this. There’s different people, different challenges. As much as you think, ‘oh yeah, I need to do this and do that’, as soon as you’re on the island, you’re fucked.”

Matty McLean (2019)

Who: TVNZ Breakfast presenter, reality survivor-show megafan.

Best remembered for: Not having to prove himself to Barbara Kendall.

On getting a second chance at Treasure Island:  “It’s not about winning, it’s about playing. I don’t want to be a fence sitter. I want to be front and centre, and if that means I go big and I go home early, fine. At least I played the game the way I wanted to play.”

Dame Susan Devoy (2022)

Who: Four-time world squash champion, former race relations commissioner.

Best remembered for: It’s impossible to choose just one Dame Suzy D memorable moment, so please enjoy volume one of the Dame’s greatest hits.

On why she’s come back: “Look, at my age I’ve decided people have made their mind up about whether they like me or not. Life’s not a popularity contest and I haven’t got a lot to lose.”

The Fans:

Adam O’Brien 

Who: The reality TV veteran competed on Survivor NZ: Thailand, where he made the top five and didn’t poo for three weeks. He also injected Botox to achieve peak game face, something he hasn’t repeated for Treasure Island. “It gave me too much of a poker face. No one trusted me, because they’d tell me something and I’d just go [stares blankly]. It felt nice, though. I had a nice smooth forehead.”

Favourite Treasure Island player: The “incredible” Candy Lane.

On whether he’ll break his no-poo record on Treasure Island: “I’ll tell you the honest truth. I didn’t shit for 22 days, but I felt amazing, like my body was just absorbing everything. I was peeing, but there was just no shit. And when it did come out, that was the worst thing. Hopefully this time I’m a little bit more prepared for the birth of it. Because that was crazy, man.”

Anna Thomas

Who: The Auckland personal trainer counts CTI alumni Chris Parker and Brynley Stent among her clients. She’s a huge physical threat who describes herself as a lone wolf, and isn’t afraid to pull someone up if she thinks they’re acting out of line.

Favourite Treasure Island player: Shannon Ryan. “She’s calm, she’s really kind, and she led with a lot of integrity and compassion.”

On her strategy: “My strategy is to lay quite low, be a good ally for people, a person they can trust. And then when I need to, slay.”

Dave Ward

Who: The Nelson port worker might be New Zealand’s biggest reality TV fan, becoming hooked on season one of Survivor in 2000 and following every season since. He also came close to making the cast of Survivor NZ – twice.

Favourite Treasure Island players: Shane Cameron, Gary Freeman and Sam Wallace, the holy trinity of 2019 finalists.

On why he came on Fans v Faves: “It’s one of those things that I’ve been wanting to be a part of for 20 years. It’s literally the top thing on my bucket list.”

Jane Yee

Who: It’s Jane Yee from The Spinoff! Co-host of The Real Pod with Duncan Greive and Alex Casey! Former C4 presenter, writer and podcaster! It’s Our Jane!!!

Favourite Treasure Island player: Puzzle queen Brynley Stent. “Brynley’s my CTI hero. I love her, I love her puzzle brain, I love her sense of humour.”

On her strategy: Jane reckons her strategy is like her birth plan: flexible.If someone tells me to push, I’ll push. If someone tells me to hold tight, I’ll hold tight. That’s pretty much it. I want to look after my people and I want to stand up for what’s right and I want to just see how far being a normie can get me in the show.”

Jessica Waru

Who: The 22-year-old singer and influencer from Northland describes herself as resilient and friendly, and can’t wait to prove herself during Treasure Island’s endurance challenges.

Favourite Treasure Island player: Elvis Lopeti. “He’s so funny and energetic and I think people love him because he’s supportive, but then he’s so confident, you know? He’s awesome.”

On how she’ll play the game: “I’m a quiet assassin. I’m the youngest of five siblings, so they’re all very tough as guts and I’m the sensitive one, but I’ve learned a lot from them. My competitive nature will definitely come out.”

Josh Oakley

Who:  Sales manager, keen sportsman, and… Dame Susan Devoy’s son.

Treasure Island player he’d like to compete against: Art Green. “He got done pretty cheaply early on [in his season] and everyone says he’s a bit of a gun, so I guess if you wanna be the best, you gotta go up against the best.”

On playing against his mum: “She probably thinks I’d have a better chance of going further than she would. She even said ‘I’ll happily fall on my sword if it means you go further than me’, you know? Sounds like what mums do, so we’ll have to see how it goes and see how the team reacts when they find out.”

Katie Middleton

Who: A 30-year-old nanny and fibre artist who describes herself as creative, sincere and “a bit of a bogan”. Not married to Prince William.

Treasure Island player she’d like to compete against: Kimberley Crossman, because they’re both “little and bubbly and loud and loving”.

Why she came on Treasure Island: “I am a Gryffindor with a Hufflepuff side to me, and for me to thrive, I need to feel the fear and do it anyway. In the past when I’ve ignored my intuition or I’ve said no to an opportunity just because of being anxious about what might happen, it has bit me in the bum.“

Micah Marsh

Who: Micah recently returned home to Waiheke Island after pursuing a rugby league career in Sydney, and prides himself on getting along with everyone he meets.

Favourite Treasure Island player: Richie Barnett, because of his rugby league background. “He’s very strong minded, and he knows what it takes to win as a team.”

First impressions of his teammates: “We gelled together straight away. We have a good mix of strengths and weaknesses throughout the team, so I feel that in challenges we can be very successful. Everyone’s just really good. It’s going to be a whole lot of fun.”

Treasure Island: Fans v Faves premieres on Monday 30 January at 7.30pm on TVNZ2 and streams on TVNZ+.

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