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TV

Celebrity Treasure Island hosts Bree Tomasel and Matt Chisholm's special bond

The reality TV hosts reveal how they keep each other’s mental health in check

By Sebastian van der Zwan
Matt Chisholm and Bree Tomasel are back as the hosts of Celebrity Treasure Island! As we eagerly await the TVNZ 2 show's second season, the Survivor NZ presenter, 44, and ZM radio star, 32, spill the beans on what to expect, how rural life has changed them and their personal struggles...
How is this series going to be different?
Matt: Well, we have three teams – Jokers, Bosses and Legends – which completely changes the whole game.
Bree: Normally on shows like this, they mix up the physical people and the smart people so the teams are fair. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out!
Who are you most excited to have on the show this time?
Bree: I'm keen to see Art Green with his shirt off! He's not bad to look at, but also I don't think New Zealand has even seen him as vulnerable as this. I'm also super-excited to see lots of strong females, like [Olympic swimmer] Anna Simcic, who looks like a weapon and will be one to watch in the water challenges. After the all-male top three last season, I'd love an all-female final this time.
Matt: The thing about this game is that people see the top contenders as threats, so they have targets on their backs and they get voted out. You want to fly under the radar for a while.
What did you personally learn from season one?
Bree: Matt is a TV veteran, so I took as much from him as I could. He taught me that you can't control everything and that it really helps if you roll with the punches.
Matt: Similarly, I can be prone to take life too seriously and Bree has been a fantastic reminder that this isn't journalism or rocket science – we're making a fun TV show.
Bree: When I can see him getting stressed, I always say, "Matt, are we performing brain surgery? Is anybody going to die? No, we're here to have a few laughs."
As co-hosts, have you had to work on your chemistry?
Bree: Never. I feel like I've known Matt my whole life. Maybe that's because we're both from the country. We just clicked. We have the same views, use similar lingo and we just have that connection.
Matt: Yeah, as soon as Bree turned up to the audition a couple of years ago, I knew she was the one. It just felt natural. The banter is there.
How has growing up rurally shaped you?
Matt: Country people pride themselves on being down-to-earth. If you get too big for your boots, you get brought down pretty quickly.
Bree: Growing up, I was always told, "You're not better than anyone else and you need to treat everyone the same." It's one of the best things I ever learnt from my parents.
How's life on the farm now you've moved back to Central Otago, Matt?
Matt: It's been over a year now and it's the best thing I ever did. I'm absolutely where I need to be. My boys are away from screens, down on the land, swimming in troughs, throwing stones in ponds and sitting on my lap as I drive the ute.
Bree: Sounds like my upbringing!
Matt: We've got 27 acres and it's very good for my mental health. I look forward to waking up in the morning to check on my sheep and calves. We're as broke as we've ever been, but we've never been as happy.
Bree, you've also spoken publicly about your mental health…
Bree: Yeah, I struggled with anxiety during our first lockdown and I've done a lot of work on myself since. It was a really hard thing for me to share such a vulnerable part of myself on the radio, but I'm so glad I did. One girl messaged me to say she'd been on her way to do something stupid, but she heard my story, which made her feel normal and less alone. There are so many people out there struggling.
Matt: That's something we talk about all the time. We're very honest with each other and she's good at reading my signs.
Bree: I can tell on Matt's face when he's overwhelmed and I'll chuck him a comment that I know will bring him out of it. We're very similar. Anxiety is all about those negative thoughts that aren't based on reality. Sometimes you just need someone to tell you what's actually happening and then you can reset.
Finally, what would you be like as a contestant on Treasure Island?
Matt: I'd be terrible because I don't like looking weak. I'm too self-conscious. I'd worry about my physical ability and how I was perceived within the group. It suits me better to host.
Bree: If you were on the show, you'd be very well-loved because you're a lovely human being to be around, Matt – you just need me to help with your self-confidence. We need each other! Meanwhile, I'd be going in 100%. I played a lot of sport growing up and I miss that competition. One of the hardest things about hosting the show is I just want to get in there and give it a crack!

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