One Question Quiz
Image: Archi Banal
Image: Archi Banal

Pop CultureSeptember 17, 2023

A very revealing Celebrity Treasure Island tarot reading

Image: Archi Banal
Image: Archi Banal

Ahead of the return to Celebrity Treasure Island, Alex Casey invites our new batch of celebrities to draw a tarot card and reveal what lies ahead of them. 

It’s impossible to know which contestant is going to do what before Celebrity Treasure Island begins. The most composed can become the most feral, the ones with all the strategy can blow it on the first night, the muscliest bods can crumple when faced with a brain-teasing puzzle. So instead of making informed predictions based on methods like “interviewing”, “researching” and “thinking” I decided to take a pack of tarot cards out to the island, to see what divine wisdom (?) reckoned. 

Not every celebrity wanted to do a tarot reading, which one can totally understand (especially given that the only tarot prowess I possessed was a crumpled free PDF I printed out that morning at the hotel to hastily swot up with). But for those who did, the tarot cards told stories of triumph and deception, heartache and independence. And, despite them being thoroughly shuffled each celebrity each time, a few contestants even pulled the exact same card from the deck of 78. 

What does it all mean? Read on if you dare.

Megan Alatini and James Mustapic: The Ace of Swords

Meaning: Representing success, breakthroughs, new ideas and mental clarity, this encouraging card is often interpreted as a sign that you are stepping into your next phase of potency and ready for battle (aka for throwing a potato into a hole to win money for charity). 

Reaction: “Girlfriend, I like it!” said TrueBliss singer Megan Alatini. “My most recent mantra to myself was all about embracing new ideas and opportunities, so this just gives me even more inspiration to go for it.” James Mustapic had more slightly more reticent than Alatini before drawing – “this is stressing me out even though I don’t believe in it” – but he found himself absolutely charmed by the triumphant card. “I like that,” he said. “I believe in everything now.”

Jordan Vandermade and Jazz Thornton: Death

Meaning: Heralding metamorphosis, personal transformation and sudden change, this is a card for those who might, for example, walk into Celebrity Treasure Island a former race relations commissioner and walk out a potty-mouth Dame going on about Jim the Possum’s big “vag”

Reaction: I know, I know. I should have listened to the publicists and taken the death card out, but I am a both a scientist who believes a tarot must remain whole, and a mathematician who deduced that the chances of anyone pulling this one card in a pack of 78 would be roughly one in a million. But despite grim appearances, the death card is actually one of the most positive in the deck and often representative of a transition phase, of rebirth and letting go. 

Jazz Thorton erupted into a long wicked laugh upon receiving the card. “I’m actually here for that,” she said. “Even on Dancing With the Stars I came out of that a totally different person, and I feel like this show will be the same.” Although he initially let out a gasp, Jordan Vandermade also had a thoughtful response. “That’s not a scary card at all, that is actually me and why I am here. For the metamorphosis, that new experience, that letting go – how crazy is that?” 

No word of a lie though, as soon as our interview time was up, a giant gust of wind blew our gazebo over and Vandermade had to duck to avoid getting beamed in the head. I don’t know what incantation to mutter to undo what I’ve started here, so best just press on with the rest. 

Tāme Iti: The Empress

Meaning: A card traditionally associated with fruitfulness, fertility, creativity, indulgence and wildness. In many ways, the exact sort of card a master forager and artist might select. 

Reaction: “Wild? I love that,” laughed Iti. “This is good, and I’m always calling matakite when I’m going to a certain place. I’ll call them to read me and what’s in front of me, so I can see where I am going to.” No further questions your honour, this man is The Empress.

Miriama Smith: Three of Swords (Reversed)

Meaning: To pull this card upside down represents the releasing of pain, harnessing optimism and forgiveness. The kind of grace you might need to show on Celebrity Treasure Island when someone fake vomits to get out of an elimination challenge. 

Reaction: “Oh my god, a broken heart! Times three! And a thunderstorm!” The former host of Whakaata Māori series Finding Aroha remained hung up on the imagery of the stabbed heart, despite me trying to tell her it wasn’t all bad. “This is card telling me: ‘Girlfriend, don’t go there, you are such a bad matchmaker that you are probably going to try and put three people together, and then you’ll break three hearts.” Nothing like a love triangle to spice things up. 

Blair Strang: Ten of Swords

Meaning: Much like the drama that has haunted Ferndale since Strang’s heyday in the 90s, this card is all about painful endings, deep wounds, betrayal, and crisis. 

Reaction: “I’m dead, what the fuck!” exclaimed the actor. “This really looks shit, I’m dead aren’t I?” After I delivered my own triage assessment that he was not, in fact, dead, Strang kept staring at the dramatic card, one which depicted not one, not two, but 10 swords sticking into the back of a man. “Oh well, the only way is up,” he sighed. 

Matt Gibb: The Queen of Swords

Meaning: With keywords including independence, perception, boundaries, communication, this is a card for the truth seekers, the intellects, the people who aren’t afraid to be upfront and honest when someone has been snoring at camp overnight. 

Reaction: Gibb resonated with communication and perception the most from the veritable buffet of meaning. “The way you take part in this whole thing is the way you perceive it,” he mused. “Is this just a game or is it… more than that?” Food for thought indeed. 

Laura Daniel: The Knight of Cups

Meaning: Creativity, romance, charm, imagination, beauty.

Reaction: Laura Daniel was clearly a tarot pro – “can I shuffle the deck? I’ve got to give them my energy” – and this was actually her second attempt after she reprimanded herself for not asking a question out loud the first time around. “I’m happy with that,” she said of this card, one which seems especially fitting for a comedian. “I’m here to have a good time.”

Eli Matthewson: Two of Pentacles

Meaning: Time management, prioritisation, adaptability, balance. Also appears to depict a man doing a jig with two coins that have stars on them… Dancing With the Stars much? 

Reaction: “That’s interesting because I’d think we’d have all the time in the world on this show,” mused Matthewson. “Very intriguing.” Could it be that the delicate dance of time management sees the comedian deploy certain strategies too early? Or, worse still, too late? 

Courtney Dawson: Seven of Swords

Meaning: This card represents betrayal, deception, strategy and a streak of individualism, just like when Candy Lane may or may not have eaten Buck Shelford’s banana way back in 2021.

Reaction: Courtney gasped as I read out each of the above words. “This is all the opposite of who I am,” she said. “And if this is what is going to happen to me, whatever. I’m not going to hold anything against anyone.” Hold onto your bananas, Courtney.

Matilda Green: King of Cups

Meaning: Protection, solidarity, independence, compassion. A well-rounded and perfect card for one of the most well-rounded and perfect people in the country. 

Reaction: “I feel great about this,” Green grinned. “That’s a really good one, I’m going to take that in with me.” Keep your eyes peeled for some independent thinking from our very first winner of The Bachelorette. Will it be Tim Tams crushed into rice? Wordle etched into the sand? Or conjuring up some self-serving strategies to see her make it to the top? 

Mel Homer: The Hanged Man

Meaning: The hanged man represents sacrifice, release, trust and commitment, but I’ll be the first to admit that it doesn’t look great at first glance. 

Reaction: “Oh Jesus, what the hell? Oh my god,” were Homer’s exact words when this particular card was drawn. With three boys at home and work commitments paused, the feelings of sacrifice resonated, but she still didn’t like the vibe. “There” she said, turning the card upside down. “He’s just standing now.” 

Turia Schmidt-Peke: Six of Pentacles

Meaning: This card is all about sharing, generosity and giving, like Chris Parker biffing his Tim Tams over the rock to Brynley, or Jane Yee sharing a slow wink with Lance Savali. 

Reaction: “I love that, because I’ve already said if we get clues I will share them,” the Ahikāroa actor said. “I just want to work hard as a team, to a certain point. Sharing food, sharing clues, if we all do that it will be good for us. He waka eke noa.” Turia for PM? I’ll leave that with you. 

Steve Price: Five of Pentacles

Meaning: Need, insecurity, isolation, worry – the sort of feelings that might be conjured if you were the only one to gain access to an almighty monolith a la Jesse Tuke in 2022. 

Reaction: “I’d say I do stress about things. I’m a thinker, and I am sometimes isolated,” the league legend mused. “When I was doing FIFO working I would start at 4, finish at 4, and then I’d go to have dinner and I’d go to my room. I’d never feel lonely, but I did get to talk to my wife every night. I’m not going to get that here though am I? No phones.” While pondering, he had a sudden revelation: “This could also mean that I am going to last a while,” he grinned. “Maybe I’ll be isolated because I’m the last one here?” 

Celebrity Treasure Island starts Monday September 18, 7.30pm on TVNZ2 and TVNZ+. For weekly recaps, sign up to The Real Pod Extra on Substack.

Keep going!