4 May 2018

Pacific celebrities compete for Game of Bros title

5:01 pm on 4 May 2018

Ten Māori and Pacific celebrities in New Zealand are being pushed to their limits once again competing for the role of ultimate survivor warrior-type reality television show where the winner gets $NZ10,000 donated to their chosen charity.

Carlos Ulberg

Carlos Ulberg Photo: PeninaJoy

The contestants are split into Team Kōwhai and Team Kahurangi with former professional rugby league player, Wairangi Koopu is the show's host.

Pacific contenders taking part include Shimpal Lelisi, Gloria Blake, and Samoan David Letele and Carlos Ulberg who is Māori, Samoan and German descent.

Mr Ulberg, who is a boxer, has been involved in shows like Mr Lavalava and previous Game of Bros shows before, but this time was different.

"We had the Game of Bros before but it was just the boys. But this is more than just physical, you need a mental strategy as well now and we had to adapt with women as well."

Mr Ulberg, whose charity is Women's Refuge, said there was still a lot of humour and fun shooting the show.

"There is a little bit more competitiveness between the two teams. The teams do change all the time and there is this in-fighting between two contestants in particular but rest assured there is a lot of laughter and jokes too."

The show's producer for this season, Olly Coddington, said the personalities are bigger this time and they had to balance the tikanga or culture of the show and the challenges that required a mix of physical ability and mental strategy to win.

"We have also got the ladies in there competing with guys, so that is a first," he said. "The other big difference is that it is all celebrity contestants so bigger personalities and I think what we will see is the level of competitiveness step up."

David Letele, who is known for his life fitness motivation movement with Pacific people, known as Butterbean Motivation, said he acted strategically from the get go.

Also a boxer, Mr Letele represented the Grace Foundation, who cater for people who fall through the cracks and become forgotten in society.

"My strategy was that it is all about allegiances," he said.

The founder of the Butterbean movement has been a big success among Pacific communities in Auckland because the results for those taking part has been significant and life changing.

Fijian Tongan actress and model Gloria Blake is also in the show representing the I Have A Dream charity.

"Remember just because we are portrayed a certain way, does not mean we are like that in real life," she said.

She said her strength is her intellect, and she is currently completing her Masters in Public Health at university.

"I am also not a good liar so from the get-go, I said I would try to be as honest as possible, but in the end that did not work."

Game of Bros

Photo: PeninaJoy

Olly Coddington said the show was uniquely Polynesian from the humour to the challenges to the rules of the game.

And said viewers might think that it was shot in the Pacific islands, but it was shot here in New Zealand.

"Our point of difference is it is all based on old school Maori or Pacific Island either sports or everyday things they use in their lives. So traditional sports and tikanga. First of all finding actual polynesian and maori things we can replicate, putting a modern spin on it and then okay how does it work, testing it and then thinking okay how does it work and then coming up with the challenges. "

Mr Letele said he has a lot of run-ins with one particular contestant in this series.

"But viewers will have to tune in to the end to see whether I punch this contestant or not, "he warned.

The famous American film director, Ava Marie DuVernay, is also a big fan of the show produced by Tikilounge Production, airing on Maori Television on Thursdays at 8pm.