Rhys Darby
Comedian Rhys Darby on life in New Zealand

Rhys Darby: Hedge your bets - call the maze panic phone

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Sensory space adventure beats a coniferous puzzle hands down.

When I wished for an amazing eighth birthday ... I didn't mean being lost deep in the common garden variety of pastoral puzzles. Photo / Supplied
When I wished for an amazing eighth birthday ... I didn't mean being lost deep in the common garden variety of pastoral puzzles. Photo / Supplied

The Passman (of Cornish rappers Hedluv and Passman) and I experienced the Odyssey Sensory Maze last week. I'm not a fan of mazes so before I tell you about the Odyssey Maze let me briefly explain why ...

On my 8th birthday I was faced with entering a maze. It was the only attraction left undone at the theme park that day.

"Why don't we do it?" yelled my friends. "Get lost!" I replied, not realising my own irony.

All my friends went in ... so reluctantly I followed. I knew, as I entered the maze that it was a bad idea. Like Han Solo I was overcome with a bad feeling accompanied by the desire to voice that feeling ...

"I've got a bad feeling about this."

Within five minutes I was lost and alone. Ten minutes in and the panic began.

"Help I'm lost!"

It was my birthday, damn it, and I was lost. My friends had literally disappeared and by that I mean ... not literally but you know what I mean. I mean not literally, that's what I mean ... but they had disappeared.

I must've been in that maze for a good half hour before I came across the "panic phone". Yes, in every corner of this maze there was a phone with a direct line to a help booth. I used it.

"Hello, the Maze Panic Helpline. Geoff speaking."

"Oh hello Geoff, It's Rhys here. Hey look I'm ..."

"Don't tell me. You're lost?"

"Umm ... can I tell you now?"


"Yes ... and it's my birthday so I'm quite upset. My friends have literally disappeared."


"No not literally but you know what I mean ..."

Geoff then told me how to get out of the maze.

Unfortunately though I found his monotone voice quite boring and after a few "turn lefts" and "turn rights" I started to switch off. This resulted in me lying to him with the phrase "got it" and then getting lost again. Long story short, I was eventually rescued by a staff member.

So 30 years later here I am in the Metro Centre and as you can imagine I'm rather nervous about entering the Odyssey Maze. The thing is though, it's not really a maze. And this is a good thing (especially if you don't like mazes). The Odyssey is more than a maze, it's a multi-dimensional sensory space adventure.

We had to take our shoes off and wear special gloves. We travelled through 13 realms of illusionistic lighting and sound. One moment we were in a pitch-black forest, the next we were on some sort of alien ship.

It was a blast.

The only time I got remotely lost was in the mirror zone. I could see the Passman up ahead of me but he was also beside me six times on both sides.

"Which one's the real you?" I asked.

The image of him in the distance turned around and waved. But the real Passman was standing behind me the whole time ... literally.


- NZ Herald

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