Survivor New Zealand

winner Avi Duckor-Jones will use some of his $100,000 prize to help a school in Ghana and also plans to publish his first novel before travelling around the country in search of more adventures.

The 32-year-old from Wellington spent 39 days in the Nicaraguan jungle while filming the first New Zealand series of reality TV franchise Survivor before being crowned in a live finale 10 days ago.

He quickly became a favourite with fans and fellow contestants for being a nice guy and was often seen writing in a journal, excerpts of which we publish in today's Herald on Sunday.


Duckor-Jones, a keen traveller who has spent time in Mexico and Ghana during the past five years, is the son of celebrated Kiwi author Lloyd Jones, who penned Mr Pip, and nephew of businessman Sir Bob Jones.

He said he always loved writing and documenting his overseas adventures.

"I've got stacks of journals from various different countries and it's just part of my day. I journal everyday."

Writing was an important part of his experience on Survivor New Zealand, helping him to deal with the challenging situation he was in.

"[It was] a chance for me to kind of separate myself a little bit from the group and just organise my thoughts in a certain way because it's such a strange game," Duckor-Jones said.

"There's so many social dynamics and things that are going through your head. It was really cathartic to be able to sit down and organise my thoughts and put them to paper."

He is yet to rule out publishing the journal in full, saying it may find its way into a larger work in the future, but is now more focussed on getting his first novel published.

The book is based on a manuscript Duckor-Jones wrote for his Masters at Victoria University's International Institute of Modern Letters (IML) and has the working title Swim.


"It's about an open-water distance swimmer."

Duckor-Jones said his love of writing had tied together "quite naturally" with his passion for travel.

"With all the journals I was keeping and all the experiences I was having I began to pitch stories."

He cut his teeth writing for the BBC and Lonely Planet, has led creative writing trips for National Geographic and taught at a school in Ghana.

His Survivor New Zealand win - and the $100,000 that came with it - is yet to sink in and feels "surreal", but Duckor-Jones said he plans to continue doing what he loves - "keep writing, keep exploring, keep working in education".

"I think this is a great opportunity to support my students [in Ghana]. I'm going to hopefully use this platform that I have to benefit them as best I can.

"I'd love to do a travel piece and a travel show even - a mini doco - about my return to Ghana and check in on my students and see how they're all doing."

He said he wanted to spend his money wisely and possibly put some in a term deposit so that it grows rather than disappears.

"I'm sure I'm not going to come into a lump sum like this any time soon so I'm just going to do what's best for me and support the community that I'm part of."

As well as returning to Ghana, his own backyard was next on his travelling must-do list.

"I'm just going to have adventures around New Zealand," he said.