MAFS’ Wayne McIntosh opens up about his tragic childhood

''That day has been imprinted in my brain. I don't have many memories of my dad because I was so young, but I remember that whole ordeal. I was so scared. I'm only here because of his actions.''
Wayne McKintosh married at first sight

He was blown away by Russian bride Ksenia Smorodinova on his MAFS big day, but Wayne McIntosh admits he was a wreck in the moments before his wedding ceremony.

“While I was getting ready, it was really hard because it was something I always envisioned I’d do with my father,” confesses the Taranaki helicopter engineer, 32. “I was tired, emotionally drained and s***ting myself, and thinking about Dad didn’t help. I felt like I was having a heart attack.”

Happy days with his parents and big brother Daniel.

Wayne’s father Tony died while trying to save his son’s life after a tragic accident in Hawke’s Bay when Wayne was just seven. The pair weren’t wearing life jackets when they fell off the back of a friend’s jet-ski while far out to sea in 1993 and Tony, 38, drowned after putting the young lad on his back to keep his head above water.

Wayne recalls, “That day has been imprinted in my brain. I don’t have many memories of my dad because I was so young, but I remember that whole ordeal. I was so scared. I’m only here because of his actions.”

Wayne and wife Ksenia.

After the tragedy, determined to start over, Wayne’s mother Christine moved the family first to Florida and then Byron Bay, where she raised Wayne and his brother single-handedly.

He tells, “My mum is a strong woman. We were handfuls as teenagers, but we’ve come out pretty good. Mum is my angel. She’s always looked after me.”

Wayne moved back to Aotearoa three years ago and has enjoyed learning more about Tony from his old mates. “From the sound of it, he had my personality – mischievous, cheeky and loved having a laugh.”

Wayne’s mum and dad on their big day in 1979.

Wayne’s also taken up speedway racing, one of his dad’s hobbies. The decision prompted his mum, 58, to reveal that Tony was suffering from concussion on the day he died due to all the knocks he had in his car.

“That explained why we struggled so much out in the water,” tells Wayne.

Because of his dad’s death, Wayne now lives life to the fullest, which is part of the reason he signed up for the Three show. He grins, “Dad’s probably looking down at me, pissing himself laughing.”

“I hope I’m living a life he’d be proud of.”

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