Sunday night's season premiere of The Bachelor NZ saw Zac Franich come face to face with the 19 Bachelorettes and his nerves were immediately apparent.

Franich's bashfulness as he met his 19 suitors made for heart-warmingly awkward viewing, and the Bachelor admits he was "scared".

"I was just hoping I made a good impression on them. Everyone had given up a lot to be part of this process and I just tried to be really respectful to them," he says.

"I just tried to make them feel comfortable and ask them questions and try and find out as much as I could in the short time I had."

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Zac meets the bachelorettes in tonight's premiere. Photo / Mediaworks
Zac meets the bachelorettes in tonight's premiere. Photo / Mediaworks

But that wasn't all there was to it; the Bachelor later admitted that he was flat-out "scared" of the women because of the fear that none of them would actually like him.

"There's one of me, it's completely feasible for any one of them to be like, 'you know what? You're not my cup of tea'. Seriously. I'm just as scared of rejection as any of the girls. It's scary," he reveals.

In fairness, meeting 19 people in quick succession would be stressful for anyone and Franich isn't afraid to admit even remembering names was a challenge.

"[It was] very difficult. It's such a rush of emotions, so many things are flying through your head and it's an emotional rollercoaster in itself, that one night."

So why put himself through all the stress?

Hailing from the Hibiscus Coast, North Auckland, Franich says he threw his hat into the ring thinking, "why not?"

Zac talks to the 19 bachelorettes. Photo / Mediaworks
Zac talks to the 19 bachelorettes. Photo / Mediaworks

If nothing else, it's a chance for Franich to become a role model - especially for the kids he coaches at Orewa Surf Lifesaving Club. The Bach says he wants young people to learn that being candid about your emotions is not a sign of weakness.

Finding a role model in the controversial show may prove a challenge, however.

The Bachelor has been criticised for being anti-feminist, with critics saying the show teaches women they'll "never be complete without a man".

"Would I call myself a feminist?" Franich muses before deciding, "I believe in equal rights and people being treated equally."

"I just saw it as a really unique opportunity to potentially find the right girl for me. I'm all about different experiences," he says.

Either way, his friends and family are supportive, despite a touching scene with his mother suggesting otherwise - Franich says she was probably just overwhelmed.

"She wasn't upset because she was worried, she was upset because she cries real easy.

"She was sending her boy off on an adventure to try and find the love of his life."