In a 2015 interview with Samoan-Kiwi opera sensations Sol3 Mio, baritone Moses Mackay's bandmates joked to Woman's Day, "We've got an album coming out and Moses is the single!" In an unwittingly prophetic choice of words, we then went on to describe him as the group's "only true bachelor".
Speaking to us today, the new star of The Bachelor NZ isn't convinced that we foretold the future, but Moses does confess he's been alone for much of his life "because I've got a big family and I look after them".
He explains, "It might sound strange, but in a lot of Pacific families, it's quite normal. Plus, I've spent a lot of time travelling the world, disappearing for months on end. I was studying for my Masters, then living and doing concerts in Italy, and then I came home to look after Mum and Dad. Amongst that craziness, I never met someone."
But part of it, Moses admits, is that he lacked confidence. "Growing up, I never thought of myself as someone who was deemed attractive or desirable," the 30-year-old tells us. "I was introverted. I only learnt about love in my twenties."
Moses may have been shy as a youngster, but his childhood much of it spent in a state house apartment in Northcote on Auckland's North Shore – certainly wasn't quiet.
"A prostitute lived in the flat above us and below us lived a drug dealer," he recalls. "Once there was a drive-by shooting where guns were fired at the house. It was scary.
"My mum and dad had me and my brother when they were quite young, but Mum wanted a better life for her kids and pushed for us to move to another area.
"We were moving around state houses for years and years. We had nothing growing up. I didn't have the same lunches as the other kids and I only wore hand-me-downs. I knew I was different and I could see the struggles my family was going through."
As a child, Moses set a goal of one day owning his own home. He explains, "It had nothing to do with possessing a house – it was to do with the security of knowing that no-one could just come along and ask you to leave. I was so lucky to buy a house. I remember the day I gave the key to Mum. I said, 'This is ours now. No-one can take it away from us.'"
The former Celebrity Treasure Island contestant initially said "no way" to starring on The Bachelor. He admits, "From what I knew of the show, it was toxic television. When the women around me watched the show, they couldn't relate because the people on it weren't like them. They didn't see representation."
He told producers he'd only appear on the TVNZ 2 series if the contestants were "multicultural, multi-sizes, multi-everything".
He adds, "A lot of people are going to throw shade at us for doing it, but I believe it's going to have a powerful ripple effect. I know my nieces will be watching the show and hopefully they can use it to navigate their way through relationships. I know I really struggled because I didn't have much guidance."
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