Men in Kilts: A Roadtrip With Sam And Graham - Season 2 2023

Men In Kilts Say Goodbye to New Zealand – Review, Episode 204

After what was a way too short 4-episode season of Men In Kilts, we are now sadly and officially in Droughtlander. The four half-hour episodes flew by, didn’t they! But even this quick glimpse of the amazing land of New Zealand was fun and fascinating, full of laughs, history, and near heart attacks for Graham.

This week, if you paid attention to the locations, Sam and Graham revisited sites they’ve already been to (although we have to assume they shot these at the same time, and didn’t criss-cross the country). It seems as though most of the physical stunts the guys got into were in the South island, near Queenstown – the ziplines, and tonight’s bungee swing. Several other segments were done in Rotorua, in the North island – the Maori village, and tonight’s mudbaths and zorbing were all there. It’s not a surprise that you didn’t actually see a lot of the country – it was locked down for Covid, after all, and many businesses were closed for a lot of the “national emergency,” as Graham mentions offhand at one point.

Time for a Shower

Rotorua, as they said, is the home of sulfur springs, and it really does have a strong smell. We walked around a sulfur spring path in another area, Taupo (pronounced Toe-pa, and I can never get that right) – if you have breathing issues, this is NOT the place to be. But it is also the home of a great artist community, and we’re planning to head there in January!

One thing to comment on – Paul Rayner, the Hell’s Gate representative, was wearing a pounamu, a green jade-like stone that is often carved, and carries special meaning for its wearer. No two pounamu are the same, and they generally carry one of several different motifs. (Stu Muir, the dairy farmer in episode 3, was wearing one as well.)

Some of the most popular designs are:

  • Toki: The toki (adze) is a type of blade, is associated with determination, control, strength, focus and hope.
  • Koru: The graceful koru represents a native fern unfurling and symbolises new life, new beginnings, hope, personal growth, purity nurturing, a new phase in life, the spirit of rejuvenation and peace.
  • Hei matau: The fish hook design signifies a connection to the moana (ocean) and brings the wearer good luck and safety while travelling.
  • Tiki: Hei-tiki designed as a pendant in human form, it symbolises strength and enduement. Usually passed down from generation to generation. Each piece carries a mana (prestige) that increases with each new bearer, with the most precious having known histories stretching back into time.

Learn more about pounamu here!

Rolling Rolling

Throughout this season, and the first one for that matter, Sam was excited, funny, thrilled to be there, and generally seemed like everyone’s annoying little brother who couldn’t sit still – but he was definitely charming, and it made us all love him more, I think! Graham was more the solid, cautious older brother – and I can relate better to him. But they both had fun zorbing – it didn’t seem anywhere near as painful as losing their paddleboards as they go down the falls. THAT looked like it hurt!

But zorbing- rolling downhill cushioned by a giant ball of air, sitting in a pool of water – looked like a lot of fun.

Birds and Beasts

It looks like the boys did a lot more than we actually got to see – why they couldn’t have done another episode or so, I have no idea. But New Zealand’s wildlife is interesting – there are no natural predators in the country, as an island nation – no foxes or coyotes, or big cats. There are deer, but they were imported by the British for hunting in the 1800s and early 1900s. Birds are plentiful – and amazing! There are several species of parrots – the kea and the kākā; and of course, the kiwi. Many New Zealand bird species are flightless, because they lived in a country without ground-dwelling predators – thus never needed to fly to protect themselves. And of course there are penguins – 13 of the 18 known species of penguin can be found in the country.

WETA Workshop

For me, this was the most interesting stop of the night. WETA, the geniuses behind the look of the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit films, as well as many more,  is a fascinating place. This giant studio, which has been  wildly successful not only in movie magic, but in production of collectibles and props, is in Miramar, the southernmost tip of the North island. I love seeing the guys made up as creatures from WETA’s most famous franchises, and Groin the Dwarf obviously had a great time! (I had my own “close encounter” with WETA a few years ago – at San Diego Comic Con, having lunch at an off-site Subway, I ran into a man who worked at WETA and was there to staff the company’s booth – we sat and chatted for more than an hour!)

Just as an aside – if this kind of movie magic, as it’s done here and in Outlander, interests you, consider coming to this year’s Thru The Stones event, held in Davenport, IA the first weekend of December. Emma Bailey, the daughter of my good friend Alyson, is a Hollywood makeup artist, and went into that profession after she did a lot of horror makeup on herself during Covid – and she’ll be one of the presenters of the event’s fantastic classes. Check out more information on the event here.

Deleted, but Not Forgotten

Oh, how I wish there was a Blu-Ray set for this show!! Now would be the perfect time to bring out a Blu-Ray for both Season 1 and 2 together. It’s nice that Starz has been giving us a few little tidbits of things that didn’t make it on air, with their “More From the Road” posts…

There’s been no word on whether we’ll ever see a Season 3 of Men In Kilts – but where would you want it to be? Back to Scotland? And be sure to look for the publication of Clanlands In New Zealand, coming in early November!

Last week, I held a little contest for a fun MIK/New Zealand prize package. I’m happy to announce that the winner of that prize is Alison Bodily! I’m excited to send this out to her! Thanks, Alison, for entering and being such a great TIBS follower!

Join us on Monday night for our final Instagram Live of the season – chat with us and tell us what you enjoyed!
9 pm eastern/8 central,

And come play with us at our Facebook home for Outlander fun – OutlandishlyThreeIfBySpace!

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