The Diary: Rachel Hunter beats about the bush

The Diary: Rachel Hunter beats about the bush

All Black pumps up Daikin’s profile in the ‘night out with Dan’ campaign.

Rachel Hunter, who will appear in the TV horror Piranhaconda (think killer fish-snake) in the US next month, will be making a more redeemable television presence next week on TV One.

Hunter ditched the fake tan and hair-straighteners for a backpacking adventure to the Indonesian island of Sumatra for a highly-anticipated episode of Intrepid Journeys. The experience, she said, took her “a world away from the life I know”.

More familiar with a champagne and caviar Hollywood lifestyle, Hunter spent several days in November filming among leeches and camping in the jungle in search of wild orang-utans. She met the locals of Bandeh Aceh who have recovered from the devastating 2004 Boxing Day tsunami in which tens of thousands of people were killed in the region.

The experience casts the celebrity mum in a reflective mood and she talks frankly onscreen about where she is at in her life and career, and a desire to return to live in New Zealand.

She confesses, too, to often feeling “socially inept” and credits this as the reason for her love of animals.

“I look and feel like I’ve been dragged through a bush backwards. But I would do it again,” Hunter said of her Sumatran experience.

She will be the first celebrity to get down and dirty on what will be the show’s ninth series. Hunter’s episode airs on May 22.

Sporting legend Steve Price experiences Nepal; comedian Oscar Kightley travels to Burma; singer Annie Crummer takes to the Inca Trail; and Billy Connelly’s Kiwi-born wife, sex therapist Dr Pamela Stephenson, will canoe down Papua New Guinea’s Sepak River for a crocodile festival.

Hunter, however, is likely to be regretting a journey to Fiji last month where she was a celebrity judge at the country’s Miss World pageant. Sixteen-year-old Torika Watters was crowned the winner, but was embarrassingly stripped of her title over the weekend because she is underage.

The Diary had earlier reported on Watters’ age and her ineligibility to enter the international competition. Contestants must be aged between 17 and 24. But franchise holder Andhy Blake told us at the time that he had received special dispensation from Miss World organisers.

Hunter was 16, too, when she was scouted on Takapuna beach and thrust into the spotlight as the Tip-Top girl. Now her teenage son Liam, 17, is making his own headlines in the world of ice hockey, playing for the Spokane Chiefs in Washington State.

Liam, like his mum, is a prolific tweeter and proud of his Kiwi roots. “New Zealand will forever and always be my home,” he tweeted. He’s proud, too, of his family – including “papa” Rod Stewart.

The father and son showed their best chest hairs and duck pouts last week for a priceless private piccie.


In the battle of the heat pumps, former Black Cap Stephen Fleming bats for Fujitsu and All Black first five-eighths Dan Carter kicks for Daikin. Now we can reveal the sponsorship scrap has stepped up a notch.

Carter, no stranger to lucrative endorsement deals, is pimping out his private time in a partnership with the publicly-listed Japanese company.

A news release in The Diary mailbag this week said: “By simply requesting a quote for a Daikin heat pump, you will go in to win a date with Dan!”

Really Dan, has it come to this? If we heat our home, we may, just may, get cushy in it with Carter. Daikin must be paying the All Black – one of the highest-paid stars in international rugby – a fortune to agree to that.

Suddenly, the parody television commercial for Metro Fires, featuring comedian Dai Henwood and two lip-locking girls in lingerie, seems less compromising.

Also behaving strangely, although not necessarily for money, was All Black Ali Williams who gate-crashed the weather forecast on TVNZ’s Saturday Breakfast.

Luckily the lanky lock illustrated a self-deprecating sense of humour. “Some idiot was on the news this morning, what a dork,” he tweeted.

It prompted others in the sporting fraternity to probe deeper. “Did you really photo-bomb a news bulletin?” quizzed Crowd Gone Wild host Andrew Mulligan. Blues teammate Piri Weepu wasn’t surprised. “He’s a helmet lol.”


While other TV3 journalists have paddled in the pool of celebrity tabloids, getting paid for intimate stories in women’s mags, MediaWorks stars Duncan Garner and Guyon Espiner aren’t tempted to blab about their budding bromance … much.

The powerhouse pair, affectionately dubbed GUNC, are getting into bed for a live Budget special on May 24, where they will strip down the economy and measure the Minister of Finance’s performance.

It’s no secret the two have a long friendship – Espiner trusted Garner to be a groomsman at his wedding.

Garner said trust goes a long way. “With him sitting beside me he can’t scoop me. I’ll know where he is at all times.”

Both boys are ready for action. “When we were rivals, people used to accuse us of colluding. Now we’re working together it’s getting quite competitive,” Espiner told The Diary.

At least Garner won’t have a problem remembering his pal’s name. “I’ll try not to refer to him like our mate Paul Holmes did on a few occasions, as ‘Political Espiner, Guyon Editor’.”

Could this super pairing be permanent? Insiders suggest more tandem shows could be in the pipeline for these two sharp minds.

It will depend, of course, on how well they perform next week. “It’s free-to-air so you get two political editors for the price of none,” Espiner said. And a bromance for free.

By Rachel Glucina

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