Otago student puts heart on the line in reality TV series

University of Otago student Manaaki Hoepo is about to hit New Zealand television screens in the...
University of Otago student Manaaki Hoepo is about to hit New Zealand television screens in the third season of Heartbreak Island. PHOTO: SUPPLIED
Long walks on the beach at sunset, fun and games, and lots of other night-time activity on a tropical island - Manaaki Hoepo thought, "what could possibly go wrong?".

The 21-year-old University of Otago performing arts and sociology student is one of five New Zealanders who have been selected to compete in an international version of Heartbreak Island.

And it turns out plenty could go wrong.

The reality show removes the mask from online dating and puts young people together where they cannot help but be themselves.

They will face an array of tasks designed to test them on physicality, puzzle-solving and their relationship via mechanisms designed to push them to the limits - all while trying to find their perfect partner.

But what happens when you have to choose between the love of your life and walking away with the $100,000 prize money?

Mr Hoepo could not divulge any details of what happens on the show before it goes to air, but said he went in with his eyes wide open.

"I went there to find a good time. But hey, love and money is also a pretty good incentive.

"You’ll have to wait and see which one I choose."

Before going on the show, he said his love life was a mixture of "tragic" and "tremendous".

"I’m never going to turn down an offer of a little fun which is the tremendous part, but obviously I’m still single so it must be a little tragic too," Mr Hoepo said.

Fortunately, he does not lack self-confidence.

He said it would definitely be "odd" walking around Dunedin after the show aired.

"Dunedin is already small, and I get noticed already, so I imagine it’ll only get crazier after being on the next biggest international dating show.

"We will just have to see if people recognise me for good or bad reasons."

Producers said the show would be on ThreeNow "very soon".



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