Celebrity Treasure Island: The final four tell all!

Who will take out the prize?
Matt Klitscher.

The last remaining contestants of the 2023 season of Celebrity Treasure Island open up about their highs and lows behind the scenes – the final episode airs on TVNZ 2, Wednesday 25th October where the winner will be revealed!

Nick Afoa, 37 – Musical theatre star

The Lion King star’s found his inner roar!

What’s your secret to making it to the final four?

I didn’t know the game coming into this. I’d never seen a season. It could get overwhelming hearing people talk about the game and not know what they were going on about, but I learned day by day, just being an observer. It’s a mixture of fate, willpower and strategy. The strategy came really late for me.

What has been you proudest moment so far?

My challenge with Jordan [Vandermade]. I’ll never forget standing there for two hours and 15 minutes with an absolute legend – it was an all-time CTI record! It stretched me physically, but the emotional and spiritual journey was the biggest challenge. At the two-hour mark, a peace came over me and I no longer felt pain, but it took a rollercoaster in my brain to get there first.

What’s your biggest regret?

Not seeing how much Turia had my back and not aligning with her earlier – maybe because I saw her as a threat. Every day, her fire grew.

What’s something CTI viewers haven’t seen on screen?

Some of the best moments were off camera. At night, our downtime was full of chats, laughs, stories, tears… If you take a group of people away from their everyday comforts and distractions, they’ll be vulnerable and lean on each other… or go insane!

What have you learnt about yourself?

Being afraid of failure can cause me to settle. I can pinpoint times in my life where I’ve done this, but if I push through the discomfort, I can be truly unbeatable. I learned this in that challenge with Jordan. There is always more in the tank! I found my treasure that day.

Turia Schmidt-Peke, 30 – Actress

Turia’s going home with a lot more mates.

What’s your secret to making it to the final four?

Being on good terms with everyone.

What has been your proudest moment on the show?

The first market, when I suggested to everyone that we all go in together to bid for the box of vegetables – beat the game!

What was your most difficult moment?

The times when I had to put people up for elimination. Especially the Steve Price moments. It was really hard to put a mate up!

What’s your biggest regret?

Not talking to Jazz [Thornton] about why I was putting her up.

Who is your toughest competition in the final four?

Courtney. From what I’ve seen in the individual challenges, she’s strong at everything I’m not.

What’s something CTI viewers haven’t seen on screen?

When Tohorā won the seafood prize, we gave some to Kārearea ‘cos they didn’t have much food. Then they won the next challenge!

How was it working with host Jayden Daniels after playing opposite him on Shortland Street: Retribution?

It was really cool to see a familiar face. The amount of lines him and Bree need to learn was crazy! I thought they both did such an amazing job – and the bro’s done such a great job at elevating te reo Māori in the show!

Now you’re CTI-famous, who’s been sliding into your DMs?

Everyone’s really supportive in my DMs, which is cool. If I get any negative ones, I just ignore them. I’ve learnt that I need to be intentional with what I give my energy to.

You turned 30 recently. How did you celebrate?

I was lucky. My sister organised a small, last-minute get-together with some whānau and friends at Neil Café on Te Atatū Peninsula. I had a great time!

James Mustapic, 27 – Comedian

A highlight for James was showing ’em who’s boss!

What’s your secret to making it to the final four?

Making friends with the right people. Turia and Courtney really dominated those individual face-off challenges when we merged, so I was lucky to be saved by them many times while I coasted on through.

What’s been your proudest moment on the show?

When I won the celebrity headlines game and became team captain. I’ve been a fan of the show for so long and it was an absolute dream of mine to become leader! Getting to be Steve Price’s captain was quite crack-up. But having to put people up for elimination was horrific. Power corrupts!

What was your hardest moment?

It’s gotta be the team swap. I’d become so close with my team, so choosing three of them to move to the other team on the spot was so awful. I’m such a people pleaser and not good at making decisions, so it was horrible. Watching the episode back and seeing how crushed Matt Gibb was made me want to cry. Squirt ya later, mate!

What’s your biggest regret?

Probably putting Matilda Green up for elimination in episode five. Even though she didn’t go home, I felt terrible. She was very kind to me when she was captain and I felt so s*** doing it. Matilda, if you’re reading this, I love you and I am deeply sorry.

Who’s your toughest competition in the final four?

It’s gotta be Nick! Never trust a personal trainer – they are on another level.

Now you’re CTI-famous, who’s been sliding into your DMs?

Sam Wallace has slid in to tell me that I am his favourite. Ten-year-old me would be absolutely shaken to my core. I’m just waiting for Drew Ne’emia and Erin Simpson to slide in now!

Coutney Dawson, 34 – Comedian

Hats off to Courtney, whose braiding skills are of CTI legend.

What has been your proudest moment on the show?

Probably my softball throw on the totem challenge. It was the first moment where I was like, “Hey, maybe I can do this!”

What was your hardest moment?

The merge was really difficult. I’m a team player, so having to step up and play for myself was really confronting. This game really tests your strength of character, and without my friends, family and other distractions, I found it difficult to navigate, which resulted in a televised breakdown! But all in all, I stayed true to myself.

Who is your toughest competition in the final four?

My toughest competition is Nick. I don’t think anyone could have watched that elimination between him and Jordan and not have been intimidated by the strength of the man, both in the body and the brain. On top of all that, he’s the kindest, most genuine dude.

What have you learned about yourself from CTI?

That I’m physically capable of a lot more than I thought I was, that I can still braid hair in the wilderness with minimal tools – I hope the public noticed how sick everyone’s hair was after the merge – and that I can, in fact, cook a bean.

How has your son reacted to seeing you on CTI?

With the perfect combination of pride when I win and a cool teenage “whatever” aloofness when I don’t. I think I’ve managed not to embarrass him so far, which is the real prize.

You’ve given us a fashion show of hats on the show! What’s the story behind the style statement?

Packing hats was essentially my only game plan coming in. I’m a hat lady – I reckon I own about 40 – and I knew that the Otago plains’ sun was nothing to play with. If you can look hot while you’re being sun-smart, then why the bloody hell not?!

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