After days spent struggling to survive and weeks of being the series' villain, Hits radio host Sam Wallace has won $100,000 for The Starship Foundation on Celebrity Treasure Island.

Sam faced off against boxing champ Shane Cameron and league legend Gary "The Wiz" Freeman in the nail-biting final episode of the show which saw the players pushed to their limits in the final hunt for the treasure.

Things didn't look good for Sam at first, when things kicked off with his own personal Kryptonite; a puzzle challenge.

Somehow, he managed to figure out the clue - and win what we're pretty sure might be his first puzzle victory - and take the early lead while poor old Gary attempted to doggy-paddle his way to glory, passing Shane who buckled under the pressure and picked up the wrong clue.

The "three stooges" work on their biggest weakness together. Photo / TVNZ

Never one to shy away from his weaknesses, Sam eyed the next challenge - fire building - and immediately realised it was beyond his capabilities and ran off to get some matches, gaining precious minutes on the other two who inexplicably gave the caveman fire-starting a crack before following his lead.

In the orienteering ropes course from hell Shane took the lead in what was ultimately a game of chance in which he happened to pick the right key while Sam did not - "a bit of luck his way, but that doesn't mean the luck's not coming to me next".

Boy was he right. After losing the lead to Shane partway through, Sam scored the luckiest break of the game when it turned out all those clues he was supposed to be collecting throughout the competition were actually just waiting for him a short swim away.

Is it a bit of a rip-off that Shannon worked her butt off to earn 11 clues, just for them to all be readily available at the end anyway? 100 per cent, but here we all are.

Turns out the clues were just hiding on this island all along. Photo / TVNZ
Turns out the clues were just hiding on this island all along. Photo / TVNZ

Is it even more of a slap in the face that Sam used Shannon's yoga-inspired breathing techniques to calm himself enough to think things through? You betchya. But it worked in Sam's favour.

While Shane and Gary were completely befuddled by the clues in what was self-described as "the blind leading the blind", Sam - armed with the clues, the lead and the sheer will-power - was eventually able to figure out the clues and dig up the victory.

He was barely able to contain his emotions as his competitors congratulated him and Gary conceded, "You've gotta be happy for Sam" and pointed out the bigger picture: "That charity's so good for the whole of New Zealand."

The boys congratulate an elated Sammy Wallace. Photo / TVNZ
The boys congratulate an elated Sammy Wallace. Photo / TVNZ

The win is one helluva coup for ol' Sammy Wallace, who has spent the past few episodes hanging in by the skin of his teeth.


In the days leading up to the final, Wallace pushed himself to win as many challenges as he could; at first, to eliminate his competition (successfully getting rid of Eric Murray, Moses Mackay and Barbara Kendall all in a row), and then to save himself from being sacrificed by the remaining players who were all Team Mako.

That, and he's come under fire from both his fellow players and fans at home for playing the game too hard, with even his Hits co-hosts referring to him as "Mr Villain".

But Wallace said on Instagram that he was "happy to be a villain fighting for the lives of kids", as he was playing for The Starship Foundation after his nephew Beau Charlie underwent two heart surgeries at the hospital which "saved his life".

Sam said of his win for Starship: "This is what it's all about... who can make a contribution like that? No one can. I can't think of anything I've achieved in my life that's as good as this."

Villain or not, fans took to Twitter to pay credit where it was due;