Survivor NZ's first winner has hit out at the treatment of a fellow finalist, saying last night's episode turned into a roast that crossed a line.
Avi Max Duckor-Jones took home the $100,000 prize last night during a glitzy live finale held at Auckland Civic Theatre.
But the Wellington-based overseas educator came to the defence of fellow finalist Barbara Raos after she was brutally roasted by eliminated contestants during a final tribal council.
Raos was grilled harshly by the jury members, with Sala describing her as a "turd who wouldn't flush down the toilet".
Others alleged she had a "selfish" attitude and a superior, condescending demeanour around camp.
During last night's live show it was revealed even more harsh words were spoken that didn't make it to air.
Duckor-Jones says the vilification of Barb was "really difficult to watch".
"It was less difficult to watch than it was experiencing it. It was really brutal, and they edited [out] a lot. Part of me does wish I'd said something," he says.
"I realise this is a forum for people to tell the truth, and to voice their frustrations about the game or about how they're feeling, and I would have done the same, but I think there's a certain way that you can do it without being that harsh or intense.
"There's a lot of emotions that are mixed up in [Survivor]. Everyone who was sitting on [the jury] was betrayed somehow, so of course that's going to bubble up to the surface. But I feel like it could have been dealt with, in a few instances, a little more delicately."
Duckor-Jones says Raos and he were "really good friends" and she didn't deserve to be roasted by the jury.
"I know that it hurt [her], it stung. I think Barb played an excellent game, and I get people's frustrations because she can come across in a certain way, but no, absolutely not. No one deserves that."
Duckor-Jones says winning took him by surprise, as he had assumed his fellow competitor Tom Paterson was going to take out the prize of Sole Survivor.
"I didn't really believe it, I wanted to ask Matt, 'Are you sure?'"
He says the prize money is the last thing on his mind, and that he's focused on giving back to communities in his life.
"I feel extremely privileged, and I know there are a lot of people in the world who can really benefit from some support," he says.
Having worked as an outdoor expedition leader overseas prior to his time on Survivor, Duckor-Jones now has a few projects in the works; he's written a novel that's been submitted to publishers, as well as a play. As for his whirlwind time on Survivor, he says he's extremely grateful for the whole "bizarre experience".
"I'm stoked to have fully realised a dream of mine that I've had for a long time. I know it sounds really cheesy to be like, 'I dreamed of this moment,' but I did, so it's a surreal and wonderful moment to have it realised like this."