A Kiwi who left home to join the circus is returning to help set up one of the biggest shows on Earth.

Adam J Smith, from the North Shore, is one of 100 performers and crew involved in Cirque du Soleil's Quidam, which premieres in Auckland tomorrow. Smith has been with Cirque du Soleil since 1999 and is now its technician and carpenter, helping to ensure the 20 trucks full of equipment, props and stage sets are ready to go. "You've got people from 20 diverse nations who tour around and get paid for it - you end up seeing the whole world so it's pretty rare to get into a job like this," he said.

But it's also hard work, and with acrobats performing death-defying stunts the margin for error is nil. "It's folks' lives that are on the line so we've got to be absolutely perfect with what we do and it has to be every single time like that, so we keep a close watch on all of the gear."

While the travelling could take a toll, Mr Smith wouldn't have it any other way.


"It's kind of like the give and take with this life ... I love it."

The Quidam tour begins at Auckland's Vector Arena tomorrow, followed by Cirque du Soleil's debut at Christchurch's Horncastle Arena on February 17.