Sounds Challenge for Gap Year Contestants

We have just spent the weekend with Holly, Emma and Antonio – the three final contestants in the Gap Year NZ Challenge, and the Endemol producers Matt, Liz and Henry.  Our job – to provide a Marlborough Sounds Adventure Challenge for the third week of the contest.


The show is a partnership between Tourism New Zealand and leading entertainment production company Endemol UK, which will promote New Zealand as the ultimate destination for gap year travellers. 

The online reality show is part of Tourism New Zealand’s ‘Go AIMGA0002ll The Way’ campaign which launched in September and targets youth and gap year travellers from the UK and Europe.

The team arrived, some earlier than others, exhausted after a couple of weeks of chaotic travel and filming.  Antonio managed to make a presence in Picton within half an hour by having a trim at the local hair salon Beyond the Fringe.  Check out the do!

SatIMGA0003urday afternoon and the crew chilled out while Matt and Liz planned Sunday’s challenge
with Sara and Dave.  Good to hear that an early night was had by all, first in two weeks by the
sound of it.  Sunday morning saw Holly and Antonio enjoying a morning ride with
Marlborough Sounds Horse Treks.  Sunday afternoon arrived and three very nervous
contestants lined up on the beach for a briefing with Dave.

Themed around the history of the Sounds and particularly Portage, contestants were required to carry a mock waka (maori canoe) up the hill and then down through native bush to neighbouring Cowshed Bay.  From the shore they rowed dinghy’s across the bay to put out a line and catch a fish, then paddle a sea kayak from Portage Bay to Take In Bay, stopping along the way to collect 5 mussels.  The contestants were assessed by Dave “the expert” on their skills, speed, teamwork, perseverance, aptitude and attitude.  The winner is announced next Friday and selects their final team member to compete with in the final week next week.

Highlights of the afternoon  – Antonio’s circle work in his dinghy across Portage Bay; Holly catching a spotty within 1 minute of putting her line in; Emma diving for mussels with her life jacket on and finally Antonio arriving at Take In Bay with mussels in record time having picked them off the jetty prior to leaving the bay – very smart thinking!


We are looking forward to the edited version – it will no doubt show the highs and lows of the day. It was great to be part of a “reality” show and see the other side.  Impressive to see the commitment of both the contestants and crew to participate and catch the moment.  

This was the first time for all the contestants to try rowing a dinghy, catching a fish, picking mussels and paddling a sea kayak.  They seemed to get into it boots and all and give it everything.  The look on their faces when they had finished and comments such as “I have never caught a fish before”  were memorable moments for us.

We look forward to seeing the outcome on Friday this week. Check it out on: