Lego Masters NZ kicked off last night in a cloud of dry ice and controversy, with a rubber ducky, ‘snot bricks’ and a rollercoaster from hell. Tara Ward recaps.
Never before been have twelve people been more excited to be somewhere than the six teams of Lego fanatics who wafted into a half-empty warehouse in a cloud of dry ice on TVNZ 2 last night. It was the first episode of Lego Masters NZ, the New Zealand version of the colourful reality series that sees Lego enthusiasts compete to build the most mind-blowing designs, and boy were these teams were pumped.
Before them stood a brick pit of 2.5 million bricks and a world of possibility. It was time to unleash hell. It was time to build some cool shit out of Lego.
Host Dai Henwood gave the teams their first build challenge: a tourist destination with “wow factor”. Their build needed to have movement and it needed to tell a story, but most important of all, it had to impress the brickmaster, Canadian Robin Sather. It’s brickmaster’s job to judge which team wins the Power Brick, a mysterious gold block that saves them from future elimination. The team that wins the entire competition scores a trophy made of Lego and a brand new car.
Robin and Dai were two nice men in two nice shirts telling 12 nice people to make nice things, and for the next 16 hours, the teams created tourist destinations that may well be the key to reviving our post-Covid economy. They whipped up elevators and monorails and clifftop wedding venues, and constructed giant toothy crocodiles and jet-skis triceratops. The teams rattled off technical terms like “snot bricks” and “burps”, and quietly panicked over uncooperative roller coasters. Everyone was having a nice time.
Praise be to the Lego gods, then, for Emily and Sarah. While the other teams kept it low-key and serious, the Christchurch friends could barely contain their joy at being on Lego Masters NZ. They danced around the Brick Pit, they squealed their way through interviews. They had the joyous, hectic energy of two mothers who were finally free of the responsibility of playing Lego with their kids. Now they could finally build whatever the heck they wanted, and they didn’t even have to tidy up afterwards.
It was Sarah and Emily’s time to shine, and they were ready to shake shit up.
Behold, the nation’s most controversial duck. After sixteen long hours of stress and snots, the brickmaster announced that Emily and Sarah’s rubber duck water park was the winner of episode one. He admired the duck’s personality and adored the plastic fireworks, and despite the duck not being motorised, the brickmaster bloody loved it. Emily and Sarah claimed the Power Brick, while second placed Glenn and Jake probably wondered how creating a magical zoo with an animal monorail and a glass elevator was playing it “too safe”.
I don’t know much about Lego other than it hurts when you stand on it in bare feet, so who really knows what was behind the brickmaster’s expert reasoning. It’s just as well Lego Masters NZ is more about the journey than the destination, because this is a show that reminds us that little things can make a big difference.
For Andrew and Georgie, the father and daughter team from Māpua, Lego brings them closer together, while for Jono and Dan, Lego helps them manage their mental health, allowing them to “empty their minds” in a positive way. Jono credits Lego as having saved his life.
The first episode of Lego Masters NZ might have had us scratching our heads over the result, but it never stops celebrating the value of people coming together to create wonderful things. It’s the show that champions the Lego nerd in all of us, and best of all, reminds us to never underestimate the power of two fun mums and a mighty duck.
Lego Masters NZ screens on Monday and Tuesdays at 7.30pm on TVNZ 2.