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Pop CultureJune 20, 2017

Survivor NZ Power Rankings, Week Seven – Jak finally hits rock bottom


Superfan Joseph Harper tackles the seventh week of Survivor NZ, including Nate’s totally normal axe collection and Barb’s scampi feast. Click here for last week.

After the fireworks/glimmer of hope last week offered, this week took a step back into ‘New Zealand yeah alright no worries’ mode. We said goodbye to the universal people’s champ and we kicked to the curb the most annoying fulla we’ve ever borne witness to.

That said, it was a great throwback to see our very own set of castaways competing in a modified version of the world famous Rudy “I don’t know” Survivor Witch Project challenge.

People can talk shit about the basicness of Survivor NZ in terms of gameplay, but I’ll tell you what – at this point it’s pretty hard to knuckle down and pick odds on who’s going to win. Barb has the strategic game, Avi has the screentime, Mike is getting the beast narrative, and Tom is just a never-ending, beguiling presence. It’s good stuff.


The Queen stays queen. Barb took out her gamiest compadre and served up a scampi feast to boot. This week wasn’t as massively exciting as last week for Barbarella, but it was fine.

Also how awesome are the stock shots of Barb lying in the hammock issuing instructions to her consigliere?

#2 AVI

Has anyone ever suffered the kind of savage abuse that Avi’s emotion journal must have endured after Sala got blindsided? I think: no.

Avi’s still fine. He’s still probably going to win. He’s still Avi.  

#3 TOM

Ffs, is Tom actually going to immunity-run his way to the end? What a bore. At least Mike Holloway provided some exciting (read: self-destructive) moves! The Survivor editors are telling us Tommy Boy is destined for greatness, but his dry as hell pieces to camera are telling me I don’t care. Come on Tom! Give us a bit of guts.

I want Tom to be good so badly. I can tell he’s a gamer at heart, but his deliveries this season have been as subtle as paint drying. At least this week gave us a bit of life from Tom. His sneaky Avi/Shay play is pretty nice, and I reckon it will pay major dividends next week.


Am I crazy to be ranking an old mate on Redemption Island this high? Probably. But would anyone bet against the New Zealand collective psyche deciding this fulla deserves the 100k via winning a tonne of plate balancing contests? Mike is steaming up the rankings by my estimation and I’m almost certain he’s getting back in the game. I’m calling it now by yelling “Kobe!” and throwing my beanbag toward a lil’ wooden box in the sand: Mike makes the final.


Nate’s ‘rant’ about how he owns 77 axes is the perfect summary of Survivor NZ. It’s just… I don’t understand. Like, 77 axes is an insane amount of axes, even for Dannevirke. But still, it’s crazy what measures up as a screentime-worthy anecdote at this point in the season.

What’s really been given the chop, though, are Nate’s game instincts. The viral cop seemed pretty sharp in the pre-merge game, but now he seems like little more than Barb’s rook. It’s not totally crazy to see someone devolve into a dead fish so rapidly, but it signals to me that Nate’s shot at the 100k have gone fishin’.


Shay’s edit is insanely confusing. Her feud with Tom has legit brewed since day one and is kind of Chekhov’s gun at this point. But given Teacher Tom’s edit, I just don’t see him not making the finale. I feel like it will be insanely underwhelming if Shay never gets to kick the teacher boy out of the game, but I honestly reckon that’s what’ll happen.

Also Shay’s current, deflated position is a great lesson to future New Zealand Survivors. If you have your shot, take it. For god’s sake, take it.

Listen below to Joseph Harper’s guest appearance talking Survivor NZ on The Real Pod:

#7 SHANNON (Redemption Island)

I guess she’ll never get the 100k to buy that zoo. Shannon may be still in the game but anyone who rocks up to Redemption is munted at this stage given Mikey’s beast status.

Shannon’s massive breakdown really illustrates the severity of the slide our Geraldine heroine has gotten caught up in. Shannon began the game as an exuberant, ‘bubbly’, game-savvy legend, and got guilted into thinking her being a gamebot-badass was a bad thing.

All I can say is that next time I’m in Geraldine, I’ll be using their immaculate public toilets and pouring out a little tap water for our very own Kim Spradlin. RIP Shannon.

#8 JAK (Redemption Island)

I mean, sure, he doesn’t empower others to put him down. But he certainly empowered the Survivor editors to blur out his asshole. And that’s saying something. I’d give Jak a 2% chance of getting back into the game and I’m honestly fine with those odds. I just hope he manages to ignore the powerful urge to ask the world’s most douchey jury question.

#9 SALA (Eliminated)

It’s crazy that the main emotion expressed throughout Survivor NZ isn’t some kind of dry, grumpy paranoia. Instead, our little consulate in Nicaragua has been awash with tears. Nobody could have predicted we would become known as New “Emotion” Land.

And never have the waterworks flowed like they flowed when everyone’s favourite husky dreaded man got the boot. Sala, for my money, is the breakout character of this season. Immensely likable and uniquely ‘New Zealand’, Sala was damn good TV. I forecast him as New Zealand’s Rupert, but instead of devolving into a weird pirate nightmare, Sala went from strength to strength.

It’s rare that a Survivor peaks in their boot ep, but Sala’s ‘pizza hell’ and ‘luckiest man in the world’ monologues were stunners. Shot Sala. You are cool.

Post-script: Oh my god the glasses at tribal. Sala, you angel.

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