There’s only 2 weeks left of Survivor NZ… Whaat?! And man has it ramped up. Simon Knyvett joins me to cover this week’s events as we see our first Sunday night episode with not only a Duel, but an immunity challenge AND a tribal council. Good things come to those who wait…

Episode 13 – Day 25-26

Redemption Island. Eyyyy, a stunned Mike welcomes fan fave Sala to camp! Mike agrees that Sala needed to leave, but little does he know who was behind that plan… his arch nemesis, Barbara!

Casar. And AVI BLOWS HIS LID!! Woah! He is pissed!! Pissed that he got played… Giving someone your word in this game unfortunately means nothing… Avi starts to throw everyone under the bus. He just needed to blow off some steam. Barb sticks to her guns and that’s what you have to do. Don’t show any weakness, and this is where Shannon’s game starts to slide. As for Avi, he was just lashing out with his emotions to the vote out. No biggie… right?!

Deal with it, bro!

Avi pretty much confesses he thinks Barb, Nate and Shannon are most undeserving for the win. I’m highly offended by this. Don’t forget what Barb and Nate had to put up with at old Hermosa. He also rags out Shannon for wanting to treat her family to a holiday if she won. She can do whatever she wants with her winnings, Avi!

Avi does a great impression of an American teenager… aka Shannon. LOL.

The Barbfather is just resting in her hammock, while everyone lines up to talk strategy with her. It is bloody hilarious! And even more so, she’s getting away with it. Do they realise there’s 5 of them against 2??? This is what you get for going up against the Ice Queen!

God, these kids are a pain in the ass!


Sala is looking quietly confident. It’s going to be a tough one against Captain Sparrow! And seriously, does Mike EVER wear a shirt?! Sala just wants to know if Avi and Shay knew about him going home. Otherwise, he’s pretty chillaxed. Good, bro!

And the words from Mike to Shannon… Don’t listen to him, girl!! Gosh it’s not like Shannon’s the first person who’s lied and manipulated in Survivor. I’m starting to doubt Mike has ever watched Survivor before! It just seems like he needs someone to blame for his downfall.

It’s a game of Memory! And oh Matty, “first to five, stays alive”. Is that a new one? 😉

Needless to say, Mike has a better memory and keeps his status of RI King of Nicaragua! The ever-gracious Sala is sent packing and gives us a beautiful farewell. The others on the bench even applaud as he walks off. Sala joins Lee as the 2nd jury member.


Check out Sala’s exit interview HERE

Casar. Back to Shannon and her emotions have taken over. She definitely was being logical with her game plan early on, but she’s let Mike’s reaction and hurtful words take an emotional toll on her. Sad… Shannon is talking crazy saying she’d rather go out the way Sala did. Girl, you have to own your game. And without you the season wouldn’t have been as interesting. Know that! Again, she goes back to saying EVERYONE in the game thinks she’s fake, but it’s only Mike. ONE person thinks that. Sheesh.

Don’t cry!! #ShadyHugs

Shay jumps on Shannon’s vulnerability. Are we going to see the new Shady Alliance between Shay and Shannon?



It’s Survivor New Zealand’s FIRST night time immunity challenge. Ooh! It’s the typical story about Nicaragua and race to different stations to answer questions related to Matty’s story. I would so suck at this.


Such a shame we didn’t see a Kelley Wentworth style hidden idol in this challenge. Actually it’s a shame there are absolutely no hidden idols in this game at all! Tom is on FIRE in this challenge and gets all his answers correct. Tom wins his second immunity necklace and he’s starting to look like a huge challenge threat.

Casar. Did anyone notice they showed Day 26 on screen twice this episode?? No? Okay, never mind. Happy-Avi is back! I for one am thrilled. Nate joins in the cards fun, while The Barbfather takes a break from her tribe mates and she’s sick of everyone else sharing their plans with her. Nate steps up and he’s right in wanting to break Mike down by sending his friends to RI. Which in turn may make the Sparrow fight harder to stay.

And then, never before seen on Survivor, Jak decides to wear his loin cloth to Tribal Council. I agreed with Shay at the time about wanting to burn it, but with what’s to come I’m glad she didn’t. Jak goes brushes up his cheeks before he shows them off at Tribal. This guy is a right laugh!

When you try really hard not to look…

THANK GOODNESS Avi talked Nate out of telling Jak he was going home. See, Avi isn’t that silly! Terrible idea. A blindside should stay a blindside, beginning to end.

Everyone is scared of Barb, but no one wants to vote her out, and she obviously couldn’t give a rat’s ass!! She’s currently directing the course of this game and riding the waves until her flame goes out.



Matty looks thrilled seeing Jak in his loin cloth.

When there’s nowhere else to look…

And I think Sala is honoured as he made it. I honestly cannot stop laughing at this point. Survivor NZ is bringing the goods! Major kudos to Matty for putting on a straight the whole tribal council. I’m not sure I could have sat across from Jak and not laughed the whole time! The most paranoid person right now is Avi; he’s still shook up from the last tribal. Matty asks Shannon if she’s a villain, I don’t think she is. Everything she said this tribal I agree with, she did what she had to do to get ahead. Barb: “Sometimes you do what you have to do just to stay alive… It’s the nature of the beast… You take out the biggest threats. You take them out before they take you out.” Preach!! Unfortunately, with his ties to Captain Sparrow, Jak is sent packing to Redemption Island… with only his loin cloth. Thanks for the comic relief, Jak! Jak-6, Nate-1.


Episode 14 – Day 27-28

Redemption Island. Mike is stoked to see his mate Jak, just didn’t expect the loin cloth!

Casar. Okay, I have a major gripe here. So Avi says he can’t believe Barb is running the show because she has no idea what’s going on… Umm, that doesn’t even make sense, dude!! Clearly Barb DOES know what is going on in this tribe that she is able to vote out who she wants and when. I don’t know what is going on with these contestants and their logic, their views of Barb, and how they don’t see her playing this game at all. She’s somehow stayed this long from the frustratingly young Hermosa tribe, she orchestrated the Sala and Jak vote and yet is not seen as playing a good strategic game. I suddenly can see if she makes Final 3 that no one would give her a vote. The current tribe vibe is giving me hints of Cagayan with Kass McQuillen.


To be honest, I think Barb could come up with a great case at a final tribal, hello KRISTIE BENNETT!

Barb also scares Shannon, and Shannon thinks Barb should be one to go next. Nate doesn’t feel phased one bit! Shannon is right that Barb is a bit snakey; no one knows who she’s going to target next, except Barb herself.


Tom is yearning for Immunity again! I’m really enjoying underdog Tom. The challenge is to collect your bag of bean bags from the bush and throw the bean bags in your frame. After the first round, Tom leads the pack. Avi is scrambling to catch Tom, but the underdog is cool, calm and collected and hits his final frame. Tom wins his THIRD immunity challenge in a row. Well done, dude!!

Immunity challenge KING!

Tom plays well and doesn’t gloat about his win. He can do that later in a confessional 😉 And I love how Shay still wants him gone!

Casar. Tom has a little excitement in him now that he thinks he’s back in the game. He’s even willing to play with his arch nemesis, Shady Shay! Tom, Avi, Shay and Shannon ponder about who Barb is gunning for next… Need I say more?! I’m absolutely amazed that no one is voting the ring leader out, but they all have the sad logic that Barb doesn’t deserve a win. Sigh.

Barb and Nate do their stratetegising and Shay is high on their list. I’ve really enjoyed watching Shay this season, so many highs and lows. I think she’s willing to work with anyone and she really has Queen Sandra’s ‘anyone but me’ mentality that has gotten her far in this game. But Sandra was NOT seen as Shady, and this is where Shay just cannot win the game. To me it looks as if she will make the Final 3 and seen as a goat.

The bromance fire between Tom and Avi may be re-lit. Tom wants to target Shannon at the next vote for being a strong player and to break her newly-found friendship with Shay! Avi is on board. Wow!! Welcome back, Tom! I wouldn’t be surprised if he made the Finals.

I’m starting to think this hammock holds ALL the power!

Nate doesn’t agree with Shannon going home… This coming from the guy who gave her a vote last tribal! I guess this is a threat to his and Barb’s power of calling shots. Understandable.

Queen Barb catches yabbies! You go, lady. Tom and Avi approach Barb re voting out Shannon and she accepts that she doesn’t have control of the vote. She’s on the same page with Nate and thinks it’s the wrong move. Barb is pretty humble and is impressed with Tom being able to scramble and his ability to stay in the game, and she goes along with his plan to take the heat off herself.

The Barbfather gives herself some playtime.

Nate throws cryptic clues at Shannon that she’s going home tonight. Girl starts to freak out! Shay is not happy with this either and she starts gunning for Barb. And are we seeing a voting bloc between Shay and Tom?! They agree that they don’t mind working together during the next couple of votes. LOVE IT! Shay makes the mistake of telling Tom that she wouldn’t want to next to Avi at Final 3. (But, who would?!) And of course, he tells Avi. He really has no idea what’s going on… 😦 He now distrusts Shay, and trusts Tom again. NOOO!!

You know who is quite the silent assassin? NATE! He’s had enough pull in the game, is well liked, but not seen as a threat. This guy could make it to the end if the others don’t watch out!


Matty talks Tom up a little bit, calling him a force to be reckoned with. I think everyone needs to start looking at him. Shannon admits wanting to take out big threats at the start, but opens up about the emotions in the aftermath. She’s worried about her wanting to play the game too hard. Girl needs to own her game. Shannon knows she’s burned too many bridges with the jury already. Shay says this is great for everyone else and people should bring you to the end if you don’t think you’ll receive any votes. If this is the mentality right now, NONE of the women will win Survivor NZ. I don’t want to make this early call, but it’s pretty easy to see. And just like that, Shannon’s own game eats her up in the end. She joins Jak and Mike at Redemption… Here we go! Shannon-4, Barb-2.



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I have been in a state of grieving the last few days. Shannon left us. And the way she left us was truly the most disappointing boot I have ever seen. Vilified for playing a more than adequate middle game Shannon all of a sudden became upset with her perception. Ugh… I do not know why. Why Shannon? Why? She was playing a game I could only wish to play if I ever played Survivor, (instead I would probably end up playing like Dee). She may have been my winner pick, but that is not even why I am upset. It is just that like she said she let the emotional side get to her. She really shouldn’t have. I think both Lee and Mike were just being far to sour and I have to imagine the edit abridged his criticism of her. All I can really hope for is that she has a remarkable redemption arc on Redemption Island and ends up taking out Mike. Unfortunately I can no longer support her win. Anybody voted out of the game to RI in my opinion from that moment forward should no longer have the opportunity to win.

Now I am done with my whine and onto the more positive note. We had two episodes and two people eliminated. Who would have thought? We even had enough time for a Redemption Island duel that saw Sala go home. These two episodes were absolutely jam-packed. One of the highlights however has to come with the Jak boot. I saw someone on Reddit comment that this happened on Survivor NZ. In all honesty I am surprised it had not happened earlier. However it played out remarkably like some kind of Survivor parody. It was fantastic entertainment and a great way to see Survivor NZ’s funny guy go home. I can only hope he had his bag with him and some more clothes as I am sure Mike would not appreciate rubbing up against him at Redemption Island wearing that. Also for his own well being it must be mightily cold! What if a storm comes along and the conditions like Survivor: Nicaragua. I guess we will find out more soon when we see three people in a Redemption Island Truel.

This brings me to my next point. They are obviously moving to the Redemption Island three way battle which has had a checkered past on Survivor. I believe seeing these battles are unpopular, however that might just be in my own Survivor circles, (in all honesty my circles are pretty small). There have been many great Redemption Island Truels including a personal favourite of mine in Survivor Blood/Water between John Cody, Candice Cody and their best buddy Brad Culpepper. So for me I have never been all against the truels for that aspect. In Survivor NZ I have a completely different reason to favour the truels. If they do a truel and the two losers are eliminated it will be particularly great and mean just one Redemption Island match up will happen across two episodes. Seriously while it has not been the bane of its existence this season I still think it takes away ultimately from the game. I hope they take this on board and get rid of it should they have season 2 with me on it. I also hope they bring in some idols.

What else to make of this week? Barb has continued on her Godmother path. That development has been thoroughly entertaining to see. The Auckland mum truly is a badass the way people have to come to her while she swings in her hammock. I feel like I have barely said much at all about Nate this season. Is it just me or has he seemed rather secondary. Shady Shay continues to just slip through the cracks and one must wonder whether she is being dragged along as a Goat at this point. Personally she has been thoroughly entertaining to me. More than what I was expecting in the preseason. As I said earlier I still think I would struggle to vote for someone who had gone to Redemption, (unless it was in a way like the Ozzy Trojan horse strategy). Tom has really impressed me as of late. He is winning challenges and moving his way forward. A big face off between him and Shay has to be brewing though one must think. Then there is Avi… Avi, Avi Avi. While I do not respect his game much he has got the social game down. Everybody seems to like Avi and not want to get rid of him. In all honesty it is looking like he is going to get the win now, (or maybe I have just given him the commentators curse). Last note, has there ever been a transformation quite like Sala’s from the game to jury. His change from looking like the beachy Samoan to the hipster came as quite a shock. Looking good uce!

SZN Finale

Want to be a part of the audience at Survivor New Zealand’s live finale? Join the contestants and other Survivor fans for a 2-hour fun-filled night to watch the final episode and winner announcement! Head HERE to grab your tickets! The event will be held on Wednesday July 5, at the Civic Theatre, Auckland. SEE YOU ALL THERE!

Blog by Lynda Olson