Image: Tina Tiller
Image: Tina Tiller

Pop CultureSeptember 15, 2023

What each Celebrity Treasure Island star’s favourite biscuit says about them

Image: Tina Tiller
Image: Tina Tiller

As a brand new cast prepares to wash up on Celebrity Treasure Island, we return to high-level food choice analysis – this time based on each contestant’s desert island biscuit. 

Last year we published a scarily accurate chip-based prediction (“a maverick streak” and “chaos vibes” turned out to be extremely true for Eta fan Dame Susan Devoy). This time, against a backdrop of picturesque lakeside Wānaka, I asked each Celebrity Treasure Island contestant which biscuit they would take to a desert island. Who would reveal the emotional unavailability of a Gingernut? The weak backbone of a Jaffa Thin? The savvy sociability of a Squiggle? 

Reader, what I discovered shocked and appalled me. I was left with no choice but to take the results upstairs to Madeleine Chapman (resident biscuit ranker), Charlotte Muru-Lanning (editor of The Boil Up) and Tara Ward (CTI power ranker) for their analysis on what it all means. Also, if you’re into hard-hitting pop culture analysis like this, be sure to sign up to The Real Pod Substack for weekly Celebrity Treasure Island recap podcasts and more.

A note on process: As with all rigorous scientific experiments eg Sensing Murder, each of the contestant’s name were concealed to avoid any risk of unconscious bias.


“These players know the game, and are obviously sucking up to the show’s sponsors,” observed Ward. “An uncontroversial choice given the reliability of Tim Tams,” added Chapman, who commended Jazz Thornton for wanting “that little bit extra” in a Caramel Tim Tam. “That is someone who pays attention,” she mused. “A quiet observer waiting for their moment.” 

TrueBliss member Megan Alatini went unnoticed by our judges for saying she would dip a Tim Tam in “anything: coffee, milk, orange juice” – but was swiftly reprimanded for adding that “Carlos Spencer did a mean ad for it and we can never forget that.” The ad, of course, was for Toffee Pops. “That person will be eliminated first for not listening to instructions,” said Chapman. 

But it was Blair Strang attorney at law and Rangi at Shortland Street, who had a lust for Tim Tams that was Nothing even close to Trivial. “I love the filthy taste,” he told The Spinoff. “And I love the filthy stuff inside.” Our judges were quick to pick up on the X-rated undertones, with Ward suggesting that “this player has more on their mind than winning money for charity.”  


Both TV presenter Matt Gibb and musical star Nick Afoa chose the ever-popular Toffee Pops as their desert island biscuit of choice. “Toffee Pops know how good they are, and these confident castaways will be secure in their ability to smash this game wide open,” assessed Ward. “Whether they have a buttery biscuit bottom is another matter entirely.”

However, Chapman noted a specific detail in Afoa’s answer – “they are so good and have they the nostalgic thing because they are my dad’s favourite biscuit” – that gave her cause for concern. “An interesting move to choose your dad’s favourite biscuit as your own,” she opined. “Sign of a follower rather than a leader? Perhaps.” 


Laura Daniel: Milk Chocolate Digestives

Daniels’ answer started in a different realm of the biscuit-verse before she settled on the traditional Digestive. “My gut instinct is hokey pokey Squiggles, a phenomenal biscuit,” she began. “But then maybe I need something for sustenance like a Digestive, but the one with chocolate on one side. Then you have the fibre, but also the energy.”

“A hectic approach from a hectic player, one who will make alliances with everyone and be loyal to none,” said Ward. “Expect the unexpected.” Chapman remained dazzled by Daniels’ initial support for Squiggles. “Everyone loves Squiggles but few are willing to back it publicly,” she said. “But I reckon this contestant will be real annoying during group discussions.”

Tāme Iti: Milk Arrowroot 

“They always perk me up a bit,” said the 71-year-old activist and artist. The judging panel were impressed by this surprising entry. “Arrowroot is the bedrock of the biscuit world, which indicates this player will be the anchor of their team,” said Ward. Chapman commended “an extremely staunch choice” but sniffed out the contestant immediately: “If this isn’t Tāme Iti, I’ll eat my hat.” 

James Mustapic: Hundreds & Thousands

“They’re just delicious and I love the vibe: cute and tasty,” said comedian James Mustapic. Sadly, our judges saw hundreds and thousands of red flags here. “This castaway is here for a good time, not a long time,” said Ward. “Might actually be the Cookie Bear.” Chapman reflected that it was an “immature choice” that could suggest someone who is “too trusting of others.” 

Turia Schmidt-Peke: Double Decker ChitChat

The Ahikāroa star was effusive in her praise of the “sturdy” ChitChat, particularly the new “double decker” edition. Ward was delighted with the choice. “This player is unafraid to go against the pack, and their love of ‘double decker’ suggests they always want more.” She predicted a top three finish. 

Chapman, however, was less pleased with the choice. “ChitChats really are a second-best biscuit unfortunately,” she said. “And doubling second-best is… fourth?” Whichever way you slice it, that’s still a finale spot for Schmidt-Peke. 

Grant Lobban: Bad Baker Double Chocolate Chunk

Our judges were left uninspired by this answer from Shortland Street star Grant Lobban. “Someone who doesn’t actually eat cookies said this,” said Muru-Lanning. “No thoughts on the biscuit choice but did immediately think this was Matilda Green #gifted,” said Chapman. 

Eli Matthewson: Butternut Snap

Matthewson was preaching to the choir with this, the number one biscuit in our ranking. “The oaty texture, the crunch, just the right amount of chocolate, dips beautifully in a cup of tea,” he sighed. Naturally, the judges were over the moon. “A stellar choice, a visionary angle, a potential winner,” said Chapman. “A golden biscuit to match a golden title” said Muru-Lanning. 

Courtney Dawson: SuperWine

“I feel like they are me as a biscuit,” said comedian Courtney Dawson. “Classic, yum, in everyone’s cupboard and you can spice it up with a bit of butter.” Muru-Lanning warmed to this no frills answer. “Those who appreciate the simple pleasures in life make for keen observers,” she said. “Contestants beware: this SuperWine-lover is watching.” 

Chapman confidently but incorrectly asserted that this contestant must have been Miriama Smith. “Mostly because buttering a wine biscuit is a real brown person move and Tāme Iti already chose Arrowroot.” 

Steve Price: Venetian

“They’ve got a sultana or two in it and a white yoghurt coating on the top,” the league legend explained. “A great dipper in a cup of tea.” Even our biscuit-savvy judges were left bamboozled by this one. “It’s a rare specimen who knows what a Venetian biscuit is, let alone picks that as a desert island bikkie,” said Muru-Lanning. “I’d be terrified by this player if I was on the island.” 

Ward also pointed out that Venice is “not famous for its sultanas”, while Chapman was still left reeling by the choice. “What in the world,” she said. “This person is going home first.” 

Mel Homer: Lemon Treats

“Salty on the outside and lemony on the inside,” gushed the former host of The Cafe. “Anything chocolate would melt on the island, I think Lemon Treats would stay good.” The judges were impressed with this “rogue choice” from Homer. “Equal parts salty, sweet and sour, and about to unleash hell,” said Ward. “Sure to bring some zesty drama,” said Muru-Lanning.

Chapman also respected the consideration of temperature on the island, but noted that this kind of careful consideration can quickly mutate into something more sinister. “This person is pragmatic and will go far,” she said. “But they may very well live long enough to become the villain.”

Miriama Smith: Macaroon

The Filthy Rich star was decisive in her answer. “Chocolate macaroons, easy. Little bit of chocolate, little bit of coconut, yum.” Chapman saw a potential winner in Smith’s ability to “get to the point with a little empathy” and Muru-Lanning saw an underdog. “This might seem like an adorably harmless answer, but I suspect it’s masking more cutthroat ambitions,” she said. 

Jordan Vandermade: Golden Crunch Farmbake

“One of the biggest packets, so I’d have more of them and no melting either,” said the TV presenter of his no-nonsense decision. “Substance over style,” noted Muru-Lanning. “Whoever this is will do well in the competition, but it won’t be pretty to watch.” Ward picked up on the “no melting” comment, indicating that this contestant “does not suffer fools.” 

Matilda Green: Anzac Biscuit

The TV personality and influencer chose Anzac biscuits for their nutritional prowess. “I think they’d sustain you for a long time – they’ve got some oats, some nuts, some protein,” she said. “Wait, are there nuts in Anzacs? Potentially not.” If you think our judges didn’t notice the waver at the end of that sentence, well I don’t know why you’re even reading The Spinoff dot com. 

“Choosing a favourite biscuit and not knowing exactly what’s in it suggests this person doesn’t eat biscuits at all,” said Chapman. “An agent of chaos I’d rather not have on any island.” Muru-Lanning had a more generous read on Green’s uncertainty. “This is a person who is self-reflective, even if they are slightly impulsive,” she said.

“Is that useful in this competition? Probably not. But they would make for a great friend.”

Celebrity Treasure Island starts Monday September 19 at 7.30pm on TVNZ2

Keep going!