New Zealand Woman’s Weekly
New job, new baby, new series MATT’S BIG YEAR
THE TV STAR TALKS SURVIVOR, SUNDAY AND BEING A DAD
Even without the arrival of his new bub, 2018 was shaping up to be a cracker of a year for Matt Chisholm.
Jetting off to Thailand to film the second season of Survivor New Zealand in January, the star reporter also announced a new gig as a journalist on TVNZ 1’s Sunday programme, which is an absolute dream job for the intrepid newshound.
But, speaking to the Weekly just days before welcoming his and wife Ellen’s second child last week, Matt (41) – who’s also dad to 19-month-old Bede – says that while he’s never been happier, he’s also never been more frantic!
“Look, it might seem from the outside that it’s an awesome time to be me,” Matt laughs. “But, to be honest, I don’t know how well I handle stress and, at times like these, I can feel a little pull in many different directions. It’s a really busy time, but it’s very exciting as well!
“I remember my wife saying to me earlier this year, ‘What’s your New Year’s resolution?’ And this wasn’t even an intentional play on words, but I said, ‘I just hope I can survive!’”
Matt was by Ellen’s side as she gave birth to their new addition last week, having missed Bede’s birth as he was still filming season one of Survivor NZ in Nicaragua.
There was no chance of that happening again, however, “My wife gave me an ultimatum
– she said, ‘If the filming dates get pushed back for season two, you’re not going!’” Matt grins. “And she means what she says!”
But travelling to rural
Thailand in January this year did mean leaving his heavily pregnant wife in New Zealand with a toddler. Matt admits that 47 days away from his family was “a hell of a long time”.
He really missed Bede and Ellen (33), but says filming Survivor was less demanding for him this time around.
“Having a little toddler is just brilliant, he’s so funny, and it’s such a cool time to be a dad when they’re this age. But season two wasn’t as tough for me overall,” he tells.
“Season one – I was terrified. I was doing something I’d never done before, with people I didn’t know, and it was one of the hardest things I’ve done in my life. Having said that, it was still tough this time around – and I don’t want to sound like a jerk, but I know I will – but you really do miss the little things, like a good flat white!”
Journeying to the set in western Thailand – a vast snakeinfested lake on the border of Myanmar – Matt instantly knew this season of the hit show was going to be far more intense, from the rugged and unforgiving surrounds the contestants found themselves in, to the
40-degree heat that was inescapable for both cast and crew.
“Everyone must have thought it was so great to be in Thailand,” he chuckles. “And it was beautiful, just a different kind of beautiful. It must have done the contestants’ heads in – every day was the same. At least when you’re on a beach, the view changes day by day, but they were looking at the same outlook for the entire 40 days.”
He continues, “And you could even feel from day one that these contestants were here to play, they knew the game and they were more cut-throat from the start. They were playing the game at a different level.”
And as soon as Matt arrived back from filming, the former Fair Go reporter jumped straight in to his new role at Sunday, though there’s still a part of him that can’t quite figure out why the prestigious current affairs show wanted a bloke like him.
“I’ve been described as a larrikin before… and that might be quite fitting!” he says.
“So I’m pretty privileged to be given the opportunity to tell stories on what could be described as the last current affairs programme on New Zealand television. I never thought I’d be given a shot!
“People watch Sunday, they watch Survivor – it’s primetime TV, and I’m just really lucky to be on primetime TV, I guess! I’m not the smartest guy in the world.
“It’s been a lot to get my head around – Sunday, Survivor and a newborn. I like being busy – which is lucky!”
‘ I’ve been described as a larrikin before... and that might be quite fitting’