Celebrity Treasure Island host Matt Chisholm is leaving TVNZ to start a new life with his family in central Otago.
The popular reality TV host, who grew up in Otago, announced the news on social media, writing on Instagram:
"Some news... after nearly 12 years at TVNZ... I'll be leaving at the end of the year. Elle, Bede, Finn and I are heading to Chatto Creek, Central Otago... population... about 50.
"We have a couple of paddocks... and plan on farming some children, rocks and rabbits."
Matt went on to say that it's been a "dream, a real privilege and a whole lot of fun telling stories on the tele... for someone who didn't do so well at school..." but that it was time to make a change and focus on family life.
He said of his TV career, "I'm an unbelievably lucky man... I've given it everything... thanks for sharing your stories... thanks for watching... and thanks for all your amazing support.
"Now... I'm bloody excited about getting my hands dirty with my wee bruisers... and fulfilling another dream... living on some land with my family... trying to be the best Dad I can be."
He said he honestly didn't know whether he'd be involved in making television next year or not... "but one thing I do know is... we only have one crack at this wonderful thing we call life."
Earlier this year the well-loved TV personality told Woman's Day that all he really wanted in life was to be seen by his sons, Bede, three, and Finn, one, as "a good dad".
"Success for me – all I really want in life – is to have a great relationship with my kids and for my boys to say that 'My dad was a really good father and he gave us everything he could,'" he shared. "And, most importantly, that was quality time and that's hard when you're busy."
The former Survivor New Zealand host, who has also worked as a reporter for Fair Go, Seven Sharp and Close Up, has endeared himself to New Zealanders over the years by always being open about his struggles and stumbling blocks in life.
In 2017 he opened up conversations about alcoholism with his tell-all revelation in Woman's Day that he had battled the disease for 20 years.
"I knew I was done and would never, ever look back," said Matt, who became sober in 2010. "I'm really lucky. Some people never figure it out and booze to their deaths."
Matt battled alcoholism from the age of 14 until 34 – he put down the bottle for good on December 26, 2010. He had suffered debilitating hangovers, blackouts, crippling anxiety and depression, and after several valiant but failed efforts to get sober, Matt says, "I just made a decision my life was better off without alcohol."
"Alcohol is alright for the majority of people, but it doesn't work for me," he said.
The likeable TV personality also raised awareness about depression last year when he took to Twitter to reveal that he was seeking help for battling the mental illness.
He paid tribute to his late friend, broadcaster Greg Boyed, who died suddenly in August 2018, saying Greg had encouraged him to seek support. Greg had suffered from depression.
"I'm buggered. My head hurts. It's not working as well as it was. I'm not smiling much. Laughing even less," Matt revealed in his tweet.
"I promised Greg, my old workmate, before he died from depression, I'd go see the doc. It's taken me months, cos of, life, but Greg me ol' mate, today, I took that first step."
Matt also touched the hearts of Kiwis with his sensitive and insightful stories about his brother, Nick. Nick had a stroke at the age of 27 that left him with locked-in syndrome.
Matt told Paul Little in a story for the NZ Herald, "We were both playing rugby in different parts of New Zealand. I had a banking job in Southland, and he was in Dunedin. He had a stroke during a game, then a series of strokes that culminated in a massive brain-stem stroke. We just thought he'd been knocked out and was concussed...
"He was in a coma that lasted a couple of weeks. It was horrific. He was on life support and we thought he was going to die."
Nick moved to Dunedin to be near Matt, then later moved in with his brother - his favourite person in the world - when Nick got out of hospital two years later.
He told Little: "He was pretty unhappy for the first year or two, along the lines of "I can't live like this", which everyone could understand. We had some good moments and some pretty rough ones and sometimes he wasn't sure he wanted to keep going.
"But one day he woke up and decided: 'If it's going to be, it's up to me.' He kicked into living the best life he could."
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