A Whangarei man who describes himself as a ''Survivor super-fan'' is taking part in the popular TV show Survivor New Zealand.
Dylan Conrad, 26, a retail manager in Auckland, but originally from Whangarei, is among the 18 castaways from across New Zealand who will spend up to 40 days marooned on a deserted island in Thailand in a bid to take home the title of Sole Survivor and the $250,000 first prize.
Conrad said he was the ultimate Survivor super-fan.
He co-hosted a dedicated Survivor NZ podcast for the first season. Before Survivor came to New Zealand last year, he even applied for US residency to try and get on the American version.
But when it comes to his ability to source food on the island, Mr Conrad isn't sure how he will go in the wild, he is too used to living in Auckland, ordering UberEats and staying in Airbnbs when on holiday.
Stripped of basic needs and comforts, castaways must endure the brutal tropical climate on the island as they compete in physically demanding challenges while navigating their way through the ruthless social game that will push their mind, bodies and moral compasses to breaking point.
Each week, castaways compete in reward and immunity challenges. Weekly eliminations are voted on at Tribal Council, until there is only one ''Sole Survivor''.
''I'm the realist; if you need an honest opinion about anything, you come to me. I'm not afraid to deliver hard truths but I know how to have a laugh,'' Conrad said when asked how his friends would describe him.
''I think they'd also say that I'm the kind of person who really doesn't care what the world thinks of me.
"I'm unapologetically me, and I think that's why my friends like me. Most importantly, I think they'd say I have their backs, if I hear someone talking trash about my friends I'm going to say something about it.''
He said he was a massive fan of the show and just had to apply to be on it.
''To be a part of this once-in-a-lifetime experience is top of my personal bucket list. The wider Survivor community is like a second family to me, so coming out here I feel this immense pressure from wanting to do them proud,'' he said from Thailand.
He said he cried a lot when told he had made the cut, then called mum and ordered pizza for dinner.
''It was a truly surreal moment in my life, one that I'll never forget. I've watched this show since the very beginning and the earliest season that I remembered was the Thailand one. So, this all just felt like it was meant to be.''
• Survivor New Zealand season 2 airs Sundays at 7pm from April 22 on TVNZ 2.