In a surprise move, Whitford resident and star of reality show Matt Hancock was voted out of a nail-biting episode of Survivor New Zealand on Sunday evening.
When the Times interviewed best mates and former Howick College students Matt and Dave Lipanovic a couple of months ago, their lips were sealed on who makes it to the very end of the tough reality show.
Ironically, it was Dave’s vote that had his buddy and rocket technician sent home.
There was a huge sense of betrayal when Matt played a tactical game with Dave and didn’t initially reveal the immunity Idol he had. It resulted in the best castaway being voted out.
A quick chat with Matt reveals some refreshingly honest answers.
How did you react to being voted out considering you were best at the game?
I knew people would be gunning for me at some point, as that is the game of Survivor. I wasn’t surprised that my name had been written down. I was more shocked that Dave was the swing in my elimination that sent me onto the Jury.
How did you feel watching your mate Dave react so strongly to you keeping secrets from him?
It wasn’t enjoyable watching Dave get upset about the scenario of me not telling him about my Idol. I pushed Dave away by not telling him about the Idol, so I don’t blame him for voting me out at all. I should’ve been more honest and that was my downfall.
Luckily I had friends and family over in Howick watching the episode, so I wasn’t alone watching my exit from the game!
Did Dave’s decision of voting you out, shock you?
Dave’s decision definitely shocked me – if I knew it was coming I would’ve played my Idol and stayed in the game ha! We had a plan to get to the end that involved keeping his Idol for final 5. So, I wasn’t expecting he’d flip because the plan had worked.
Could you have played it better?
I don’t regret my game at all. I achieved so many Survivor moments, especially getting the video from a loved one – that was the one I really wanted. I think everyone who didn’t make the end could’ve played better – but I played the game I wanted to, I went in making big moves and that hopefully will be remembered!
Favourite moment of the game?
I have two favourite moments in the game, the first one was winning my first Individual Immunity and the second was getting my video from home. They were the two top things apart from winning that I wanted to do.
How do you rate the overall Survivor New Zealand experience?
Playing Survivor is crazy, you only really understand what it’s truly like once you’ve played it. It pushes you to your absolute limit especially in the later stages. You’re tired, hungry and homesick all while competing in intense physical challenges and the mind games that happen in the lead up to Tribal Council.
What was it like being able to speak with your loved one again?
That first conversation was so overwhelming that it was hard to get the words out. I was so excited to talk to her again but it also meant that my Survivor experience was over.
How much weight did you lose from being on the show?
I lost 8kg. Once I got out, I just ate everything which wasn’t a good idea – I ended up really sick and had to go back to a rice diet for two days!
Would you do it again
Initially I was like no bloody way am I doing that all over again, but over time that hunger has come back to give it another go!