The GC star Tame Noemi has a message for detractors of the reality show about young Maori living on Australia’s Gold Coast.
“I couldn’t care less what people think,” he says, on the eve of the debut of the show’s second season.
When the show’s first episode screened last year, more than 370,000 Kiwis tuned in to find out what life was like for a selected group of young Kiwis living in Queensland’s most popular holiday spot.
Viewers reacted strongly with many labeling the show “fake’ and “pathetic”. Its detractors started a Facebook page calling for The GC to be cancelled but it is back for a second season, this time with funding from Te Mango Paho, the Maori broadcasting funding agency.
Noemi says making the show has been heaps of fun but admits he approached series two very differently to the first season.
“This time I knew whatever I did (while the cameras were running), they could use,” he says.
“The first time we didn’t even think it was real. We just did it. This time, I’m still very much me but just wary of my surroundings.”
The GC follows the lives of nine young, attractive and successful Maori who work hard and party even harder in their adopted Australian home.
In season one, no one partied harder than Noemi but he says that has changed in season two as he turns his focus to his new business, Kiwirise, a company specialising in providing topless male waiting staff for events.
“It was actually a friend who approached me and asked me if I’d be keen to do it and I thought ‘why not, I never have (my shirt) on anyway. Might as well get paid for it’,” he says.
Demand has been great, but the 25 year old has a warning for fellow young Kiwis attracted by the lifestyle he and his mates enjoy.
“When I first got over here it wasn’t too hard getting a job,” he says, adding he had work two weeks after his arrival in Australia.
Never academically inclined, he headed to Australia straight after finishing school and that first job was working nine to five in a factory.
“Then I went ‘nah, I’m better than that’ so I studied to be a personal trainer and then I was playing up too much for that so my dad said why not do scaffolding. It’s all pretty much Maori who do it. It’s how we all meet one another. It’s just how it is.”
But that was seven years ago and things are different now.
Noemi believes anyone planning on following in his footsteps needs a plan before leaving New Zealand.
“A lot of people think they can come over and get a job just like that but they need to make sure they’ve got support system over here that’s willing to look after them until they get a job,” he says.
The GC: TV3, Mondays, 8pm