Remotely Interesting: Bear Grylls meets his match

The North Island weta community has plenty of good reasons to dislike Bear Grylls.

For a start, the giant tree weta likely roll their little weta eyes and sigh when they hear that Mr Grylls, of Man vs Wild fame, was recently appointed the youngest ever chief Scout.

Most weta I have met don't hold with the Scouting movement.

Most weta I have met would probably scoff at the fact Mr Grylls was educated at Eton, learned to skydive as a teenager, earned a second dan black belt in Shotokan karate, practises yoga and ninjutsu, and speaks English, Spanish and French.

Most weta I have met are retiring sorts, hardy, stoic, resilient and disinclined to big-note themselves, and do not take kindly to Boy's Own Brits with dads who were Tory MPs.

But most of all, the North Island weta population would dislike Mr Grylls because he took one of their members, who was sitting quietly on a manuka tree eating lichens, leaves, flowers, seed-heads and fruit, and ATE HIM ALIVE!

I know!Fortunately, this weta did not go without a fight.

The insect can bite with powerful mandibles, and while biting is not common, the weta in question clearly saw his fate and thought "sod this for a lark, I'm fighting back".

And he did.

"Owwwwww," said Mr Grylls.

If you are wondering what Boy's Own Bear was doing in these parts, the "survival expert" and adventurer - he climbed Mt Everest at 23, served in the SAS, and circumnavigated the United Kingdom on a jet ski - has brought his Man vs Wild show down to these parts.

In his world-famously-only-slightly-real reality show, he will come close to home, with a show about the South Island kicking off the latest series on the Discovery Channel on my birthday (yes, I do want presents) on March 7, at 8.30pm.

He apparently traverses a mountain range, but steers clear of Castle St and Hyde St on a Saturday night during Orientation. Wussbag.

Man vs Wild: Land of the Maori, which I was sent, is the second show of the series. It is set in the North Island and is very, very silly.

In the show, Mr Grylls is dropped into "extreme destinations", and must use his survival techniques to stay alive, though the introductory credits note he and his crew "receive support when they are in potentially life-threatening situations, as required by health and safety regulations".

Oooooh kaaaaaay.

Highlights of Land of the Maori include Mr Grylls killing the weta, boiling three innocent crayfish to death in his sock, and running around looking silly.

Don't forget my birthday.


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