Survivor New Zealand |Final Week

By James Rowland

Instragram – @jrowl

Twitter – @jamrowl

The first ever season of Survivor New Zealand has come to an exciting finish, with the loveable Avi receiving 6 of the 7 votes to become the sole survivor.

Lets try and break down those hectic four episodes and how we got to the final result.

Episode 17


Avi is feeling terrible after voting out his close ally Shay. This is one of the only times Avi goes back on a promise in the entire season. He needs to own that move and make it known.

Avi wins the ‘Alison’s Pantry’ reward and takes Nate to enjoy a bounty of nougat and nuts. Nate has a deep chat with Avi, hoping to persuade him to vote out the biggest threat in Tom. Nate has been struggling to convince anyone to vote out the people he finds threats, at this point he’d have a better chance talking strategy with Avi’s crab ‘El Blanco’.

Barb is still on a mission to get Avi to the end and get him the win. At this point Barb isn’t even sure if she wants to go to the final three, which is crazy.

Jak, Mike and Shay have a battle on redemption island, holding up two poles on the top of their hands. This is a classic survivor challenge. Shay loses her concentration, becoming the newest member of the jury.

We head to the immunity challenge, Barb is hoping for more balancing challenges and like editing magic her wish is granted. They must go over balance beams while balancing a ball and finish the challenge by throwing sandbags at targets.

This could be the closest finish to any immunity challenge this season, you can just hear the excitement in Matt’s voice when he screams out ‘BARBS!!’. Barbs wins her first immunity and is overwhelmed with joy to see her family in a video message.

Episode 18


Tom explains that his plan A was to win immunity every time but if that were to fail he needed a plan B so he would not go home if that were the case. To us (and Nate) he is the biggest threat out there but he has made strong enough bonds to make himself safe even if he loses immunity. It’s top notch survivor play.

On redemption island, Abe Lincoln Jak and Mike are predicting that if Tom were to lose immunity, he would no doubt be the next one voted out.

At tribal council Nate tells Matt that luck has played a big part in getting him this far, He also says he has a good read on people. Nate tried to persuade Barb but she was hellbent on getting her two young men to the final 3 and Nate is unanimously voted out.

Back at camp, the tribe are acting a bit strange. It is a final three situation yet they know there is people to return to the game. Tom is bashing pots and pans and all of a sudden just stares down the barrel of the camera and its so bloody funny!1499154642609

I only wish Barb was stringing Tom and Avi along, telling them she’ll take them to the end but ultimately cut them. We saw a glimpse of it when she voted out Sala but we haven’t seen that side of her since then.

Back at redemption island, Mike is doing his best Troyzan impression and telling us that everyone are just visitors on ‘HIS ISLANDDDD!!!!’.

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Mike, Jak and Nate enter the arena for the final battle. They must balance a sword on a plank of wood and stack coins until one person drops their stack leaving the other two to re-join the tribe. Ironically, Jak the banking consultant can’t stack the coins and loses the battle. Mike has completed his epic 17 day journey and made it back into the game. What a story.

Episode 19

With the dynamic shifting, Nate and Mike must and try to find a way to break the alliance of three and make it to the end. Nate trusted Barb too much and left it too late last time, will it happen again?

The tribe is sent to another immunity challenge, the same day Mike and Nate come back from redemption island!

Mike knows he needs to win if he is to stay alive. The challenge consists of the players balancing a table and stacking blocks. This challenge doesn’t give the strong and young people an advantage so it was difficult from the get go for Mike. Tom takes out the win in clutch fashion and Mike is now vulnerable.

Mike tries to have a discussion with Barb but she really is having none of it. She shuts down Mike and he is dreading the result of tribal council tonight. It would be really frustrating having no one to even entertain your thoughts in this situation.

At tribal council Mike makes the last ditch effort and pitches why Barb should go with him and Nate to the end. He basically tells Barb that she’s getting no votes if she goes with Avi and Tom (he’s got a point). The message he is trying to say is the right one, but it was too aggressive and it did not endear Barb to Mike. Mike is unanimously voted out and is sent straight to the jury, so quickly after such a long time on redemption.

Next up is the final immunity challenge, and it’s a typical test of endurance. Balance a large vase using one foot on a see-saw. Nate really needs to win this, he will most likely be voted out if he loses, as we have seen before! The suspense is taken out of the challenge almost instantly when Nate falls out. Barb follows shortly after and it’s a showdown between Avi and Tom.

The challenge goes for three hours before the producers decide to make it more difficult by making Tom and Avi put their hands behind their heads. I don’t like this at the final immunity, they should go for as long as possible and either strike a deal or have a marathon challenge. In the end it probably didn’t make much of a difference though, as Tom faints off his position! Scary stuff, but after a rest and some water he seems okay. Avi wins his first immunity and he is over the moon. He finally got the win he so desperately wanted.

Now comes the ultimate decision. Every single season the winner of the final challenge holds the power and can decide who will make it to the final 3 and who will be the last member of the jury.

At home I was thinking to myself, he has to vote out Tom right? Tom has won 5 immunity challenges and has at least three votes locked down on the jury, it’d be foolish to take Tom to the end right? I was so frustrated at Avi. He said “What am I without my word?” I yelled at my T.V – A SURVIVOR PLAYER! But I was wrong. In this particular season, Avi’s decision to stay loyal to Tom did not hinder his chances. If anything it upheld his character to this jury. But more on that soon.

One of the strangest things I’ve seen on survivor coming up. Avi is expecting Barb to be voted out so she can vote for him on the jury. Barb even wrestles with the thought of letting Avi down if she decides to go to the final three. In the end it is Nate, the guy who is trying to make the final three, convincing Barb to not go home and therefore sacrificing himself. It’s so strange and so chivalrous of Barb and Nate in a game of deception.

At tribal, Nate does say that it’s a clear tight three and that he can’t do anything about it. Avi does try to downplay it, stating that what he is saying contains a lot of assuming. Which I couldn’t help but laugh at.  Don’t try and fool Nate and the Jury. He has been in this exact position before. He has been voted out at the final four and he is pretty confident it will happen again.

Nate becomes the last member of the jury.

Episode 20

Final Tribal Council TOP 3 (Photocredit Scott McAulay) (50) +64(27)6241733

The final three wake up on day 39 to the obligatory day 39 breakfast. They indulge in the donuts, eggs and bacon and pat themselves on the back. They’ve gone as far as they can go. And that’s a feat in itself.

Barb is feeling confident, she lets us know that she wasn’t sure if she wanted to go to the end. Now that she is here now she is going to let the kids know that she played a better game than any of them could see.

Tom and Avi are confident also, but weary of each other. They both know that each other is a threat.

Final Tribal Council

Matt Chisholm (Photocredit Scott McAulay) +64(27)6241733

Matt welcomes the final three into the tribal area. He welcomes the entire jury who come in with stern looks. The final three give their opening statements.

Tom – He explains he wanted to be straight up and go hard for this game. Leave nothing on the table

Avi – Gives the integrity and honesty angle. He will live and die by that mantra.

Barb – She was lone from the start and overcame plenty of adversity to make it to the end.

Jak is first up. He has already made his decision but looks very somber. He pours out his feelings to Barb, like he has bottled up all his emotions and emptied them all out at once. This is the realest we have ever seen Jak. He tells Barb she didn’t respect others and he felt like she treated him like a child.

Jak (Photocredit Scott McAulay) (10) +64(27)6241733

Mike disregards Barb, agreeing with Jak’s remarks and choosing to not pile on.

His question to Avi is interesting, he asks “Does Tom want to win more than you?” Avi answers this well. R.V disagrees and says that he wanted to go to the end with Tom because to be the best he wanted to beat the best. USUALLY this would care for zip in survivor, but this answer to a guy like Mike is music to his ears. He won his vote here.

Nate is very quick with is question, he just wants to know why he wasn’t final three and Tom was. Avi just tells Nate that he never was approached by Nate for final three. Nate seems satisfied with Avi’s honesty.

Shannon wants to know – is just being nice enough to win? You can see that she loves strategy with this question. She is wrestling with giving her vote to the guy she likes who is Avi, but does his strategy merit the win?

Sala has a massive heel turn here. We have seen nothing but kindness from Sala until his outburst on Barb. I don’t need to repeat it but it was very strong. You have to feel for Barb, it would of been so difficult to sit there and take all that, knowing you had no chance of winning.

Lee wants to know if the final three think luck played a part in their position. Barb answers truthfully saying yes. Tom and Avi say they would of been in the final three without luck. We know there is a certain amount of luck in Survivor. But they said they didn’t receive any. Interesting.

No closing statements, directly to the vote. The jury cast their votes and Matty Chis walks the votes all the way to New Zealand.

Jury (Photocredit Scott McAulay) (3) +64(27)6241733

Matt arrives at the live finale (ah, YES!). He fistly goes to Lou for a casual chat before he reads the votes. MATTY, YOU’RE KILLING US! READ THE VOTES!

One Vote Avi

One Vote Tom

At this point I am fully expecting a 4-3 win to Tom

Then the votes start rolling in



And the winner of Survivor New Zealand – Avi.

Avi (photocredit Scott McAulay)

Final Thoughts

Avi – the perennial good guy. Winner. I am not unhappy with Avi’s win, he was so bloody likeable that he got to the end with only one immunity win. People knew he was a threat yet he still made it to the end. He absolutely deserves this win and he should be so proud.

Tom – So confused as to how he only received one vote. Tom played an outstanding physical game and a solid strategic game. He did not wrestle with the emotions of loyalty and cut people even though he gave them his word. Tom was more of the dynamic, new-age survivor player. He was just playing in the wrong season. With a different jury, he is the standout winner. He just couldn’t beat Avi’s likability.

Barb – She had a moment when she was stone cold. She cut Sala at the knees and it was BAD ASS. Then she stopped. She actively took two of the biggest threats to the end. I truly believe is Barb wanted to, she could of gone to the end with who ever she wanted. But for whatever reason, she decided to stop playing hard and it really baffles me. The treatment against her was very rough. I’m not denying that, but her gameplay shocked me.

The reunion show was brilliant for a first go. Australia, please do this for the upcoming season.

Matt Chisholm, you have been an awesome host. Not at all a Jeff imposter. You were professional but also had a chill disposition that is indicative of Kiwi’s. Well done.

And to the cast, you killed it.

Survivor New Zealand, you’ve been real. Until next season…