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My Aunty Henga reacts to the shirtless Game of Bros calendar shoot

Game of Bros is back, sans the free Bachelor marketing, and browner than ever. Before the season two premiere, Madeleine Chapman sat down with Game of Bros superfan* Aunty Henga to judge the contestants based solely on their calendar photo and quote.

By the time we got to the Game of Bros season finale last year, my Aunty Henga was about sick of it. Any attempts to jokingly suggest it was her favourite show were immediately shut down quicker than a request to drink alcohol in her home. I figured time heals all wounds and went round to her place last week to show her the new season’s calendar.

“Are you ready for the new season?” I asked in a high-pitched voice.

“No,” she responded, and went back to work on her computer.

Once she had a dinner bowl in hand and was settled into a chair, I slid the calendar across to her like I was giving her a contract offer. A contract offer she would most definitely reject if I wasn’t her sister’s child.

My cousin and I asked her if she would win a competition called Game of Aunties. She violently shook her head.

“I wouldn’t enter, full stop.”

“But what if we all died if you didn’t do it?”

“Well then we all die.”

Fair enough.

Carlos Ulberg – A++++

Carlos Ulberg was long-rumoured to be this year’s Bachelor, but turns out he’s just a star of the better version of that show. He won over Henga’s heart and mind by choosing not only the shortest quote, but apparently the only one that made any sense to her. “Yes, good on you, Carlos,” she said, “if you have the will you will find a way to win this show.” Well there you have it, Carlos wins Game of Bros season two. Might as well all go home now.

All I will add is that lavalava knot is incredibly high and immediately reminded me of a certain celebrity…

Phoenix Puleanga – A-

Phoenix’s choice of quote elicited no response from Henga, and for that he comes in second, still a winner. Also, Safotu is a great village so he gets bonus points for his heritage.

Jesse Elliott – B+

It took me a while to explain what ‘grind’ means but even when I’d finished, Henga wasn’t impressed. “Jesse, where do you get that from?” she asked, looking directly into his paper eyes. “Must be a Fijian thing.”

Joash Fahitua – B+

Um, how come Joash was the only one who got to use the rain machine? It almost makes you think he… didn’t show up to the original photo shoot. Disclaimer: Joash is Henga’s nephew and my cousin. His mum (Henga’s sister) features in his chest tattoo. But that doesn’t mean Henga is biased towards him. In fact, she wasn’t impressed at all. “Mmmm no, I don’t like vodka. A party from vodka is… not a good party.” Wise words that should be printed on every bottle of alcohol.

Rorani Arakua – C+

“God doesn’t want your witness, he wants your all.” Take notes, Rorani. Based on the preview, Rorani looks set to take the ‘freshest bro’ crown from last year’s winner, Louis, and wear it with pride. I can’t wait.

Ammon Johnson – C+

“Huh?”

Joshua Tupou – C

Henga and I debated the quality of this quote for quite a while. I thought it was a good sentiment and she didn’t. Finally, I asked her who her idols were, since she seemed so against the idea. “I am my own idol. I don’t work to compete with anyone else. I work to become my own self.” Then she laughed like a Samoan buddha and I sat there silently, thoroughly shook.

Oscar Kettle – C-

After googling the quote to see what it meant (hammerhead sharks fight till the death), Henga still didn’t like Oscar. Why? “I haven’t got time to look it up. Don’t make more work for me, Oscar.”

Jason Sawyer – D+

Henga knows exactly how old she is and yet still works at least 12 hours a day. This sentiment apparently doesn’t apply to Game of Bros contestants. “You’re too old for this game,” she told Jason, after reading his quote and muttering “I don’t think so.” I laughed and told her that seemed a bit harsh but she didn’t care. “He’ll be gone soon.” SPOILER ALERT: She was right.

DISQUALIFIED – Rakena Takerei

He’s not wearing a Ludus Magnus singlet but he used literally the exact same quote that Ramon ‘Ludus’ Betham used in last year’s calendar. Either all gym guys subscribe to the same motivational e-letter or it’s written on the Ludus wall and Rakena secretly works out there. Either way, he’s disqualified and Ramon is disqualified again.

When we got to the end of the calendar, Henga sat for a moment, sniffed, and said “I think I burned something on the stove.” My cousin ran over to check what was cooking. Once again, Aunty Henga was right.


Game of Bros Season 2 premiers on Māori Television at 8:30pm on Wednesday 22nd March.

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