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MasterChef Zee Tana’s Aussie love

The TV chef’s following his heart to make a new start overseas.

He might have gambled and lost last week on MasterChef, but Zee Tana’s always up for another challenge. Never afraid to take a risk, the proud Northlander is making a fresh start in Australia. While the country offers opportunity and adventure, there’s one other thing Australia’s good for – love.

Leaving his friends, family and the remaining contestants behind in Aotearoa, Zee (26) has recently settled with partner Daz in Mackay, Queensland along with their two dogs Koby and Jack. Zee says his new life in Australia is perfect. “I love the heat, the people, the place. There are so many opportunities here,” he says.

“I love New Zealand with all my heart, I was born there and I’ll forever be a Kiwi, but Australia is where I need to be for where I want to go.” Being in Australia means furthering his relationship with Daz, which Zee still can’t quite believe is happening. “It’s quite surreal,” he smiles. “We met when I was in Australia before the competition and we went out a few times. I moved but we kept communicating and things got quite serious.”

Despite officially being single while in the MasterChef house, Zee says he couldn’t quite get Daz out of his head. “Things just fell into place and it hasn’t changed since! He came over here for Christmas and then we moved back to Australia together,” says Zee. While helping Daz with his steel and welding business, Zee’s also forging ahead with opening his own gourmet food stall at the local market, serving delicacies such as crocodile and kangaroo.

“It’s gourmet food without being pretentious. I want to make it as homely as possible!” he grins. There’s no denying the disaster that was his dish last week, but despite his elimination, Zee left the competition the same way he came into it – with no regrets. “I knew I was thinking too big. But that’s who I am, I take big risks. But if I fail, it’s a lesson I’ve learned,” he says. “I knew I stuffed up long before they called my name, I knew it was time to go.”

Although he was gutted he didn’t win the MasterChef crown, it meant Zee and Daz were able to get together and are now looking at buying a house later in the year. Zee’s even trying to persuade his mum, Michelle, to make the move to Mackay – to drive dump trucks. “I think she’s really keen!” he says.

Though he reckons he “looked like a goose” at times on the show, Zee says he knows his family are proud of him for taking on the MasterChef challenge. “The biggest thing for me is that they’re happy that I’m me, that I didn’t make myself out to be something I’m not. “I’m just so thankful for everything in my life at the moment. Life’s good.”

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