Arriving in New Zealand was utterly breathtaking. The landscape is seemingly undisturbed and lush with several shades of green from emerald to moss.
We had a one-week break between the Dominica and New Zealand shoots, so the crew’s batteries were completely recharged for the adventure. Unfortunately, the sudden shift of weather during the cooking challenge quickly drained everyone’s juices, setting us up for seven more weeks of exhaustion.
The Maori people we spent time with were amazingly welcoming. The research I’d done lead me to believe that they were a very standoffish and stern culture. Fortunately, what I learned whilst spending time with them is that there is a very distinct division between their warrior history and the people they are now, which allowed for a great cultural exchange.
Surprisingly, the cuisine was very simple. I particularly enjoyed the flavor of the grubs. Although I would probably have enjoyed them more if they weren’t moving around so much.
Maori Welcome Dinner Dish.
Emotionally this was a very powerful episode to shoot for two reasons: 1. We were in Kayne’s homeland which instantly upped the ante regarding the outcome. 2. The sudden shift in weather was completely unprecedented and extremely draining on the cast and crew. By the time we got to the winner reveal and giveback there were several emotional breakdowns.