Tara Ward and Alex Casey peel back the masks on the cast of The Traitors NZ, and find a fascinating mix of celebrities, normies and… psychics?
Prepare yourselves New Zealand, The Traitors is finally about to hit our screens. It’s the reality series that’s taken the world by storm, spreading its wicked ways from The Netherlands to Australia to Britain (where the series clocked up 34 million views and nabbed Love Island’s crown). Next month, the franchise finally launches here with murderously high expectations. The Traitors NZ will be hosted by Paul Henry (in a treacherous fedora) and features a stellar lineup of both celebrities and non-famous New Zealanders, all vying to win the whopping $70,000 prize.
The Traitors is a murder mystery, yet not a drop of blood is spilled. A group of strangers move into a luxury lodge, and three are secretly chosen to be traitors. This deadly trio must work together to secretly “murder” the rest of the cast (the “faithfuls”) one-by-one. Meanwhile, the faithfuls must deduce who among them is a traitor, and eliminate them before they are murdered themselves. All players have to work together in a series of challenges to raise money for the prize pool but, if a traitor is left standing among the final faithfuls, they can take all the cash for themselves.
As The Traitors NZ premiere nears, we pull back the masks and stare death in the face (though mostly we just read the official press kit) to find out who’s about to scheme their way to success.
She’s a broadcaster, an athlete, an entrepreneur, a Dancing with the Stars NZ icon and now… possibly a traitor? Brodie Kane is one of New Zealand’s busiest people, so it’s a treat to see her in this lineup of celebrities who want to murder other celebrities. Can’t wait to see the energy she’ll bring to this treacherous game, especially if she unleashes another cracking performance of Proud Mary. / Tara Ward
He has the gift of the gab and can sell absolutely anything from a pair of slap-on sunglasses to a pile of opshop junk, to a Newshub weather forecast while on the cusp of crapping himself. But will beloved television personality Mike Puru sell himself as a faithful, or a traitor? Our only hope is that the Traitors mansion is far, far, far away from any dodgy McChicken proprietors. / Alex Casey
If the Radio Hauraki breakfast host thought Taskmaster NZ was filled with batshit challenges, wait until he finds out what happens on The Traitors. Riddles in a church? Ridiculous! Guessing songs by listening to church bells? Absolutely bonkers! Set fire to a wicker beast? Back of the Y not! Good luck to one and all. / TW
I was today years old when I first encountered the phrase “candle girl boss” and I assume you are probably the same. Happy “candle girl boss” birthday one and all! Celebrations aside, entrepreneur Christen Oliveira seems like an absolute hustler, running a home decor business, running a her aforementioned waxy empire and using her platform to inspire women and celebrate the femininity. Here’s just hoping she’s not burning the candle at both ends on The Traitors. / AC
You might remember Brooke Howard-Smith as the host of consumer TV show Target, but did you know this “ideas guy” was also once an X Games rollerblading bronze medallist? He now runs a talent agency, loves a game of poker, adores NFTs and is in business with another Traitors NZ castmate. Is that the business of… pretend killing on a reality TV show? Fingers crossed. / TW
One of us! One of us! Fans of The Spinoff may remember Dylan Reeve from beloved website The Spinoff, in which he has investigated everything from Covid conspiracies to school uniforms. Having since written an entire book on conspiracies, and previously having worked with journalist David Farrier on documentary Tickled, Reeve should be able to sniff out a dodgy traitor a mile away. Or maybe, just maybe, he is perfectly primed to become one himself? / AC
An influencer and IT consultant, Fili is disciplined, competitive and determined. The Traitors is a reality show that relies on sabotage, lies, and the occasional midnight run through a castle. How will Fili fare? Only Paul Henry’s fedora knows the truth, but we’d keep an eye on this player, one who is already planning to fly under the radar as “just another fitness guy”… / TW
The former dentist and children’s author is extremely well-known in the comedy and television world in Aotearoa, carving out a unique space for himself as the go-to warm-up guy for live shows like Dancing with the Stars NZ and The Project NZ. Does that mean he will know a bunch of the celebrities in the house? Almost definitely. Is this an advantage or a disadvantage? Depends if he ends up a traitor or not… / AC
No, this is not Rod “Rock the Dock” Stewart’s daughter, but in fact “New Zealand’s most accurate psychic”. Pull that tea towel off your crystal ball, because professional soothsayer Kimberley will surely know what will happen on The Traitors NZ the moment she sets foot in the lodge. She also reckons she can spot a liar “20 paces away”, but what if the traitors have really big feet? That’s the sort of spiritual insight we’re here for. / TW
Pa-pa-pa-poker face pa-pa-poker face. Here we have a world class international poker player, people!!! Traitors found dead, faithfuls found dead, Paul Henry found dead, me found dead. Not only has he taken out the New Zealand poker open after playing for 17 hours straight, Dan has also acted in Power Rangers, Xena and Vegas. Most damningly, he also played a murder suspect on The Brokenwood Mysteries. Verrrrrry convenient indeed. / AC
A prolific comedian on local panel shows from 7 Days to Taskmaster NZ, could Justine Smith be laughing straight to the bank on The Traitors NZ? “I want to really indulge that evil Scorpio side of me,” she says of her Traitors strategy. “It appeals to me to be slightly evil.” If she is a traitor, at least the other contestants might all die laughing which is something we can all aspire to. / AC
There’s no Dancing with the Stars NZ this year, so professional dancer Loryn has cha-cha-cha-ed her way over to The Traitors NZ. Loryn is used to slaying the competition on DWTS NZ, but she’ll need more than a snazzy Viennese waltz to avoid murder on the dance floor here. Coinci-dance? I don’t think so. / TW
What an absolute treat to have the international model, TV host, and die-hard Google reviewer back on our screens. He’s the master of blue steel, and crucially has the enigmatic Twitter bio “eyes like a storm front as I wield the truth like a weapon.” Does that sound like a traitor to you? And if not, doesn’t that sound like someone you want to watch on television? / AC
Who doesn’t love spilling their deepest, darkest secrets to their hairdresser? As a hairstylist of 30 years, Robbie must surely be a) weighed down by three decades of classified information and b) an expert at squeezing the truth out of strangers while pretending to be interested in their curtain bangs. One to watch, preferably through the safety of your curtain bangs. / TW
She’s spent a decade in the modelling and entertainment industry and is used to sharing “raw” parts of her life on social media, but how much will Anna choose to share with her fellow “pals” (she started Pals) on The Traitors NZ? “Underneath Anna’s fun exterior she’ll be using her top-notch manipulation and negotiation skills,” the bio reads. Intriguing! / AC
Sam ‘Fury’ Johnson
Professional gamer Sam knows how to stay calm under pressure, which will come in handy both at the Traitors round table and when Paul Henry tries to plug his gin. Sam plans on building a mind map that will reveal the traitors to him halfway through the season, while also using his skills of strategy to stay ahead of the game. Incidentally, what would your professional gaming name be? Mine would be ‘Sluggish’. / TW
Dunedin crime writer Vanda is no stranger to a bone-chilling murder mystery, and she’s also a trained pharmacist and enjoys fencing (the sport, not the garden structure) in her free time. This means Vanda knows how to murder people in a thousand different ways, so hurrah! Let’s get this killing spree started, Vanda! / TW
Kings will be best known for his 2016 debut single ‘Don’t Worry ‘Bout It’ which achieved double-platinum status and accumulated over 20 million streams. Will he be taking this famous carefree attitude into the Traitors mansion? Or will he instead adopt the persona that he took for a spin on The Masked Singer NZ: a monster? We worry ‘bout it. / AC
Folks, a former police officer has entered the building. Allegedly a “master of reading body language” after dealing with police informants for years, Vahry has since started her own insurance business and is an ambassador for getting kids into fishing. Will she take the bait or reel in a big one? We’ll have to wait until August to find out. / TW
The Traitors NZ begins August 7 on Three.