Whangārei fans of popular TV show The Chase were in for a treat last night with star Shaun Wallace entertaining the crowd at Dickens Inn talking about his life, career on screen and behind the scenes.
"The Dark Destroyer" landed yesterday morning in Auckland, coming from the UK, and after a quick stint, Wallace made his way up north for the Whangārei event.
"It's a long flight, but I slept all the way from London to Hong Kong and from there to Auckland, so I feel brand-new," Wallace told the Northern Advocate while on the way to Northland.
It's the second time Wallace is paying New Zealand a visit this year; however, The Chase star had never been to Northland before.
As an outspoken New Zealand fan, Wallace said he was "just glad to be back in this wonderful country".
Wallace is touring New Zealand for 11 days stopping at Dunedin, Palmerston North, Wellington, Christchurch and Auckland, his main engagement being the 20th annual Believe It Or Not pub quiz champs in Auckland next week.
A series of events, last night's show in Whangārei included, titled "Audience with Shaun Wallace" give The Chase enthusiasts the chance to meet the Dark Destroyer in real life.
"I know The Chase is phenomenally popular and I suppose that's one of the reasons I've come out to New Zealand – to thank as many people as I can in person for watching the show," he said.
"I've always said with every television show; it wouldn't be a success if it wasn't for the people watching it, so it's my way of saying thank you to the people watching it."
With more than 400,000 viewers on average watching the show on TVNZ 1 every night, it's impossible for Wallace to stay incognito when visiting New Zealand.
"When I'm over here, I get recognised everywhere. When I touched down, I got recognised by the Customs officer, and the people at Air New Zealand know who I am.
"Sometimes I pinch myself to realise this is really happening."
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Tickets for the Whangārei event which raised funds for local charity Alzheimers Northland had sold out fast, general manager Mark Leslie Ellis said.
Customers and staff had been excited for days in the lead-up to the big night, which was held upstairs providing an intimate atmosphere for the audience.
Wallace said the event was about people getting to know him as a person.
"My story from since I came out of my mother's womb to the person that I am today, with all the ups and downs in my life. The hope is always to inspire people to realise your life is never behind you," Wallace said.
Wallace, a lawyer, part-time lecturer and Chaser since 2009, said staying educated was essential for him, and always had been.
"You're never too old to learn," he said. "Watching quiz shows has always been a passion of mine, and I wanted to see how good I was in terms of being a quizzer.
"It opened so many doors for me; sometimes I can't believe how far quizzing has taken me."
Apart from quizzing, Wallace enjoys exercising and does 2000 sit-ups every morning.
Being a football fan, he doesn't religiously follow the cricket, but he said he was interested in the outcome of the NZA v England warm-up match starting today, 10.30am at the Cobham Oval.