Survivor superfan Joseph Harper shares some well-informed* predictions for the coming season of TVNZ 2’s Survivor New Zealand.
Reality TV juggernaut Survivor, has been rolling along in the United States for 17 years. Last year, Australia finally had a crack at the beautiful game, and now at last we get a shot. It’s huge news for fans of the franchise, who have had little more than fond remembrances of Celebrity Treasure Island to satisfy their craving for a local show where people run around with machetes and eat bugs.
But the wait is over, and I’m pumped.
And what better way to get hyped for Survivor New Zealand than by drawing some lofty conclusions about the contestants based on their promo photos and tiny bios. Who are these people? How will they fare in the cutthroat world of Survivor? Which famous players from “real” Survivor (read American Survivor) are they gonna play like?
All these questions will be answered with zero promise of accuracy.
Overview: Middle aged youth worker from New Zealand’s best city (Christchurch).
Vibe: Immediately seems cool. People in social work are well placed to talk to people all the time, which is a plus. I worry that it’s probably bad to bring a ‘betrayal and lies make me mad’ attitude into a game where you are getting paid to lie and betray. We will see.
Yankee Comparison: Could this man be New Zealand’s Rupert Boneham? The grizzly, Deadhead, pirate guy who started out as one of the most popular Survivors of all time, and ended up as source material for an ongoing podcast bit. The job fits. The beard fits. The only question is whether he can catch fish and how badly his thighs are gonna chafe.
Overview: A white guy from Tauranga.
Vibe: Mike says he has the skills to pay the bills. He’s talking up his massive talent in every facet of the game. Sure, maybe he was made in a lab to be the perfect Survivor player, but then maybe he wasn’t and actually he’s gonna get a self-awareness gutcheck. Who knows?
Yankee Comparison: John Fincher from Survivor Samoa. Everybody knows John Fincher is a poser and, honestly, Mike comes in a little too hot on this bio for my liking. It’s hubris o’clock in Mikeville.
Overview: Say hello to your Survivor super-duper fan.
Vibe: Dee obviously loves the game. She’s dropping some powerful deepcut Survivor references in her bio and I 100% guarantee she’s posted in the comments of Robhasawebsite. I love it and am rooting for Dee hard out.
Yankee Comparison: Too many options here. We just have to wait and see whether she’ll be an Adam Klein/John Cochran (Winner winner chicken dinner!) or a Shirin Oskooi/Dan Foley (These guys are so dumb!)
Overview: A Mum who has “lived a normal Kiwi outdoor life”.
Vibe: If New Zealand Survivors vote people off in the same way American Survivors vote people off (via very sexist and ageist criteria) Barb could be in big trouble. I love that her name is Barb though. I reckon if Barb makes the merge, she could be in like Kim (Spradlin).
Yankee Comparison: I mean, obviously I’m being very superficial here, but I’m getting a strong Dawn Meehan vibe. Which is fine. Dawn came second once!
Overview: It’s a viral cop.
Vibe: Hmm. Police officers have served up a mixed bag over Survivor history. Just like in real life, some people on the show hate them. Many famous Survivor cops have chosen to utilise the right to remain silent about their job via lying.
Yankee Comparison: If this cop is as popular as his viral road safety thing, we could have a Bret Labelle on our hands.
Overview: He’s from Wellington.
Vibe: Describing yourself as reckless is pretty cool, as is boasting that you haven’t done much to prepare. Avi is negging Survivor itself, and straight up, it’s working. Survivor is horned up for Avi.
Overview: A zookeeper! How good is that?!
Vibe: A self-described “good strategist” and “walking encyclopedia”. Little does she know, books can’t win challenges where you have to do puzzles. Even puzzle books.
Yankee Comparison: Not enough to go on here. She looks a little like Kim Spradlin though, which is a pretty great omen.
Overview: This young farmer looks like a lock to be the next New Zealand Young Farmer of the Year.
Vibe: Super young which doesn’t exactly inspire confidence in a game where youths are often bamboozled by world-weary scumbags. The host man has been talking up Lou as tough as nails though, so there’s a good chance she’s a total badass. Also if they find a chicken she’ll probably know how to wring its neck. So there’s that.
Yankee Comparison: I’ll say Julia Sokolowski. A young ‘un with a heart of pure coal, aka she had an awesome motor. She came in with green gills, but managed to turn herself into a nuggety threat.
Overview: Long-haired lad from Motueka.
Vibe: He plans to ride Survivor “like a wave” and that really rocks. Lee is absolutely radiating positive vibrations and I look forward to watching him be a lax bro on this TV show.
Yankee Comparison: The long hair, the quixotic career, the prominent use of the word “chill”. This guy has Aotearoa Ozzy Lusth written all over him.
Overview: The last hope of the Tron is a business co-ordinator. Let’s hope she can co-ordinate a Survivor win.
Vibe: Hamilton’s finest hates buzzkillers and absolutely lives for the buzz which I respect the hell out of. I also like that she’s keen to have a few laughs. Good attitude.
Yankee Comparison: You know who else loves to laugh? Cirie Fields, one of the all-time greats.
Overview: An oil-rig steward! What the hell is that? Awesome.
Vibe: I know for a fact that after starving on Survivor, she’s gonna wish she was back on the oil-rig, stuffing her face with burgers. She doesn’t suffer fools but is happy as larry to suffer bugs and dirt and stuff. Seems fine, but also you kind of have to suffer fools on Survivor because you bet your ass there are gonna be some fools about and you need them to vote for you at the end.
Yankee Comparison: Izzy seems like a hardass so I’m going to go crazy and say she could be an extremely low-rent version of the GOAT: Sandra Diaz Twine.
Overview: A crackup banker. Fancy that!
Vibe: He has a weird Kanye West thing in his bio which I didn’t understand even a little bit…
He’s all about teamwork and mucking in though as evidenced by his face being the grubbiest of the lot in this promo photo.
Yankee Comparison: A lot of people have used his strategy of “let other people make the big decisions so I don’t get pinned for big moves” They have mostly gotten slaughtered like the goats they are in the final tribal council. Therefore Jack is, aka, New Zealand’s Lill Morris.
Overview: A well-travelled teacher from Tauranga.
Vibe: I wonder if Tom knows the other Tauranga person. That’s a joke, he definitely does. Teacher is a good job for Survivor via trustworthiness and being non-threatening. Unless… the other contestants are naughty lil boys and girls.
Yankee Comparison: I couldn’t think of one but that sneaky guy Nick from Survivor Australia was a teacher too?
Overview: A dancer from Palmy.
Vibe: “I want to play the game as it comes” is maybe the most promising incoming contestant bio quote I’ve ever read. I reckon dancers are strong as heck usually too and if Georgia makes it to individual challenges, she could smoke it.
Yankee Comparison: I can see Georgia lasting for 15000 hours on one of those challenges where you have to hug onto a big pole thing, or balance on one foot on a pontoon. So I’m gonna say Parvati Shallow.
Overview: Quirky city USA.
Vibe: A kindy teacher probably runs through Survivor-style stuff (puzzles, throwing bean bags around, eating sand) on a daily basis, so Hannah could be a challenge beast. Her “very alternative” way of being could rub some conservative beachgoers the wrong way, though.
Overview: An old army man.
Vibe: I am of the opinion that all old army men on Survivor are exactly the same. They boss people around when they’re making shelter and they don’t win. Still, New Zealand is the country that produced Horse Mcleod…
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Yankee Comparison: Rudy Boesch. But hopefully less homophobic.
Survivor NZ starts at 7pm Sunday on TVNZ 2
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