It’s a rivalry unlike any the world has seen, a competitiveness that has produced many a great hero. But the question of who is truly the superior nation – Australia or New Zealand – may finally be answered.
For the five Kiwi teams competing in The Amazing Race Australia v New Zealand, there’s more than the $250,000 grand prize at stake – they hope to win the pride of our entire nation.
The Weekly gathered together the women of the Kiwi teams to discover their race strategies, how they plan to uphold our national honour, and why it will be the Kiwi chicks who will settle the great rivalry once and for all.
Q. Kiwi women are known to be tough and resilient – does this give you an edge heading into the competition against the Aussies?
Cat: I think so. We’re innovative and strong. I entered the show because I wanted a challenge – Kiwis love to challenge themselves. And I did it because, as a stay-at-home mum, this was completely outside my comfort zone.
Hereni: Carla and I entered because we wanted to be strong Maori role models. We hold the worst statistics in everything – drugs, obesity, suicide – and we didn’t really have anyone we could aspire to be when we were growing up. We’re fit, strong Maori women. And we’re mums – that makes us strong anyway.
Carla: We should put that on a business card!
Emily:We’re a whole variety of New Zealand women – students, mums, business owners – but we’re all tough!
Q. You’re already being touted as national heroes for going up against Australia. Is it strange to hear yourself being called a hero?
Aston: Well, someone’s got to do it!
Emily: It’s kind of cool to be called a hero. I’ve never represented New Zealand before, and it’s not like I’m an Olympian or anything like that. I’m doing it with my personality! So it’s a huge honour to be on team New Zealand.
Cat: There’s nothing amazing about me. I’m not freakishly talented at one particular thing. I’m a stay-at-home mum!
Emily: That’s the hardest job in the world, though. I was a full-time nanny, and it was the best contraceptive!
Q. Four of you are mums – was it hard to be away from the kids, with no contact for such a long time?
Hereni: Oh, yes. I missed my three kids terribly. I had to ask people not to bring them up in conversation, or I’d bawl my eyes out.
Cat: With Jesse and I both being away, it was tough. But I really wanted to show my kids, and the kids we foster, that if opportunities like this come up, you take them.
Aston: I’m a single mum with a three-year-old son, so being away from him was tough, definitely.
Carla: I didn’t miss them much! That sounds terrible, but we were so busy, there was no time! That’s how Hereni and I are different – we’re like chalk and cheese.
Hereni: I was determined to be a good example for my kids. I always had in the back of my mind that I’d watch it with my kids, be proud of my actions and practice what I preach – don’t stab anyone in the back, treat people nicely, that kind of thing.
Q. What’s your favourite piece of Kiwiana?
Aston: Our ads are gold. The “Bugger” ad, and “Togs or undies” are my favourites.
Carla: Pineapple Lumps, Snifters and milk bottle lollies.
Hereni: The buzzy bee.
Emily: Fush and chups.
Cat: I really love retro, so I’m going to say Formica! And gumboots.
Q. Who’s your own personal Kiwi hero?
Carla: I love the Topp Twins.
Hereni: Lorde is amazing. I love how Stan Walker presents himself too. And the girls who won MasterChef – Kasey and Karena!
Christie: Sir Peter Blake. Oh, and Gareth Morgan. I hate cats.
Emily: I’m a big fan of Sir Ed (Hillary). He was just the ultimate in awesome. And Ali Pugh. She’s clever and hot.
Cat: Our everyday heroes – the ones who don’t get any attention. There are so many people in New Zealand who are doing amazing things, and that makes me really proud.