The Chase's love affair with New Zealand has risen another level after Shaun Wallace, "The "Dark Destroyer", made a surprise appearance at numerous Auckland quizzes last night.
The popular game show chaser stopped into The Horse & Trap for a surprise visit to give locals a run for their money in the Believe It Or Not Quiz event.
Quiz host Brent "Riggsy" Riggs was given a late tip off a famous star was coming to join in the fun, announcing to a stunned audience "I have a friend from England, he's looking to join up with a quiz team, who is interested?"
Suddenly, Wallace walked in.
Shaun Wallace co-hosted the event along with quizmaster Brent 'Riggsy' Riggs. Photo / The Horse & Trap / Facebook
"When he walked in, it was like Tom Jones walked into the room. It was more than crowd goes wild, it was more like cougars gone wild," Riggs told the Herald.
"They went nuts and I just handed over the microphone and said 'you're pretty good at answering the questions but how good are you at reading them'."
After getting through one round of questions, Wallace talked about what he was doing in New Zealand and a bit about his time on the popular game show The Chase.
The Dark Destroyer walked around taking photos and helping out different quiz teams during his appearance.
While the staunch Chase figure appears tough on camera, NZ quiz legend Riggs said he's a personable and extremely friendly guy.
"He came in and gave me a big hug while in his All Blacks shirt. When he talks he sounds exactly like he does on the show. He was really chatty to the contestants and he was really smiley compared to his manner on the show.
"He's just a really friendly guy and loved to jump in with a bit of banter as well."
Shaun Wallace from The Chase stayed behind to take photos with fans at The Horse & Trap. Photo / The Horse & Trap / Facebook
Wallace starred for about 30 minutes before making his way to The Garrison for another surprise appearance.
Patron and The Hits radio announcer Dave Nicholas was at The Garrison and told the Herald Wallace was brilliant.
"Everyone flocked to him like he is a Hollywood star. People couldn't get enough of him.
"His character on TV is exactly what you get in person. He's a really approachable guy and enjoys a bit of banter."
Wallace walked around the room offering help to numerous quiz teams before permanently joining the team in last place to lend them a hand, Nicholas said.
But it was his knowledge of New Zealand Māori history that wowed the quiz participants.
"He jumped in to help the team that was coming last and by the end of the night they were towards the top.
He even answered a question about a particular Māori tribe which most teams struggled to answer. Everyone was blown away by that."
Wallace is also set to appear a the Upper Hutt Cossie Club on Saturday evening while an extra show has been put on for Sunday at 2pm.
Shaun 'the Dark Destroyer' Wallace wowed patrons during quiznight at The Horse & Trap. Photo / The Horse & Trap / Facebook
It's not the first time the popular TV show's chasers have revealed their love affair with New Zealand, after Anne Hegerty made the trip down under in August last year.
"The Governess" is known for her staunch behaviour on The Chase, but her time in New Zealand was anything but confrontational.
"[The Governess] is a character ... I based her partly on my grandmother and one of my aunts, and some people say she reminds them of Professor McGonagall from Harry Potter," Hegerty told the Herald.
"There's a bit of her in there."
The quiz master might need to work on her New Zealand knowledge though — she scored just one from six in a pop quiz with the Herald, answering only one question correctly — that Lorde's debut single was Royals.
She didn't know who New Zealand's first female Prime Minister was (Dame Jenny Shipley), the name of the current Prime Minister's new baby (Neve), which national park is New Zealand's smallest (Abel Tasman) and how many capitals New Zealand has had (three).
She also didn't know how many world cups the All Blacks had won (three) — but she did know how to charm passionate followers of the black jersey.
"Don't they just hand it over to them at the beginning of the competition to save trouble?"
Meanwhile, Chase star Paul Sinha is also coming to New Zealand to perform standup comedy at the NZ Festival.
Appearing on New Zealand television last week, Sinha revealed he turned to comedy as a result of a "sort of midlife crisis".
"I was a professional doctor for many years, and I just thought, I want to be doing something else with my life," he told Breakfast's Jack Tame.
"Like a lot of people, I started very much at the bottom and stayed there for a number of years to be perfectly honest with you, but you sort of slowly climb your way up the ladder and I've been a professional comedian for nearly 20 years."
This year's comedy festival runs from May 2-26. The full line-up will be revealed on February 28, the same day tickets go on sale.