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Tam Iti’s early celebrity Treasure Island exit: ‘I couldn’t move on’

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For Maori activist and arts award winner Tame Iti, her time on Celebrity Treasure Island may have been shorter than expected – but she hopes it will help inspire her generation.

In an emotional fifth episode on Tuesday, Iti decided to leave the show early, but not before a heartfelt speech to his Tohora teammates – leaving some with dry eyes both on-screen and off-screen. Gave.

“Ke Te Pai, I am here in your hearts just in my Aa-Tinana. I’m going home,” he told his active audience on the beach.

“It was difficult. I really wanted to stay there,” he said Material regarding his departure from the series.

He said, “The whole event was fun and exciting,” and explained that it was very rare to be stuck in such a situation, adding, “You have a bowl of rice and some beans, and that’s it.”

For Iti, the decision to leave was taken from a previous episode where an obstacle challenge caused her bleeding and pain. He was also conscious of his diabetes, for which he had not taken medication for years.

He said, “I had a mother on my leg… You keep forgetting you’re 71 years old.”

Tammy Iti left Celebrity Treasure Island on Tuesday.


Tammy Iti left Celebrity Treasure Island on Tuesday.

“My kids warned me, reminded me, ‘If you don’t feel good there, we want you to say something.’

And finally, he became sad and, “I couldn’t go on”.

The night before heading away to Wanaka and the show, he sat down for korero with his Tohora teammates. The next day, “At the very last minute… no, it’s time for me to go”.

As an active 71-year-old man, Iti joked that he is “not completely helpless.” I’m very active”, but he said his children always make sure he’s OK.

“I keep reminding them, ‘I’m OK, my boys’.”

Despite the early departure of the Aotearoa icon, who many considered a contender to win, Iti said that when she got to know the fellow contestants in the short time, “it feels like I’ve known them forever”. .

He rarely watches television, and when he arrived he didn’t know who his island-mates were, but it didn’t take long to make friends – and find out who everyone was.

“You see people on the screen, but if you see them in real life you have to look twice.”

And once the formalities are completed, “we are in business”.

While Iti quickly became a favorite with people on and off the screen, before the 2023 contestants were announced, very few people would have included her in their list of potential faces to join the island. But he has had a lot of requests for shows and appearances in the past – such as Dancing with the Stars – which he has declined.

Tame Iti with James Mustapic.


Tame Iti with James Mustapic.

He joked, “I thought about it and, no, I didn’t… I didn’t want to be seen falling through the floor… or I can’t do that.”

However, as with Celebrity Treasure Island, it was for a good cause – raising funds and awareness for Mike King’s I Am Hope charity – a cause, “dear to my heart”. He talked to his kids about it and was like, “This one, I took it”.

She may not have raised money, but she hopes her time on the show will shed light on the charity and continue the conversation about suicide and, “why people out there need to be able to call someone for support.” So they can live another day.”

“There’s hope for people.”

Iti hopes that his time on Celebrity Treasure Island has inspired people – especially men of his own generation – to be mentally and physically active.

And to give people a glimpse of the real Tam Iti.

“The media created an image for a long time – what’s going on with that Tam Iti – activist… radical, and all that… there’s a lot more to it than that.”

He said he strongly believes that, “We need to get over our egos and our assumptions about our culture, our language, who we are”.

“It’s really important that we build a relationship…let’s do some magical things together.”


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