Kiwis hear Bear facts

01:35, Nov 25 2012
World-renowned adventurer Bear Grylls eats New Zealand's scariest bug - the weta.
WETA WORKSHOP: World-renowned adventurer Bear Grylls eats New Zealand's scariest bug - the weta.

Britain's most famous boy scout, Bear Grylls, is always prepared.

Edward Grylls, reportedly dubbed "Bear" by his eldest sister when he was just a baby, travels the globe and never leaves home without three items.

He always carries a knife (from his own range), a lighter and, tucked into his shoe, a picture of his family - wife Shara and sons Jesse, Marmaduke and Huckleberry.

He is best known for his role as host of the hit TV series Man vs Wild and Born Survivor. Scenes depicted the former special forces soldier flying a powered paraglider to 8839 metres in the Himalayas, drinking animal urine stored in a rattlesnake skin and, occasionally liquid elephant dung, eating deer poo, bear poo, goat testicles, yak eyeballs and an assorted array of insects, wrestling alligators, converting a sheep corpse into a sleeping bag and giving himself a bird poo enema on a raft.

The author of 14 books, including No 1 bestseller Mud, Sweat & Tears, Grylls was in the South Island at the time of the February 2011 quake and brings his stage show to the CBS Canterbury Arena on Wednesday.

During the two hour live show Grylls will eat bugs ("can't tell you what yet, it's a surprise") and share his experiences of survival in some of the world's toughest jungles, mountains and deserts. Audiences will see footage and hear stories from his time with the SAS, the French Foreign Legion, climbing Everest and other adventures.


He hopes to swap survival stories with Cantabrians.

"We were filming an episode of Man vs Wild in the South Island," Grylls explains.

"I was on a line crossing a river and thought, ‘Wow, that was a bit of a tremor', we didn't know what had happened until the next day.

"Like so many Kiwis in difficult times Christchurch people have shown spirit, it's amazing to watch people come out of it stronger. I am really excited to be coming to Christchurch for the first of our live shows and swap survivor stories."

Among other things, Grylls has crossed the north Atlantic Arctic ocean in an open inflatable boat, created a world record for the highest open-air formal dinner party in 2005 in a hot air balloon at 7600 metres and once rowed naked in a homemade bathtub along the Thames as a fundraiser for a friend who lost his legs in a climbing accident.

Whether he's dropping into a viper pit in Panama, crossing piranha-filled rivers or hanging out in frozen Siberia it's "all in a day's work" for Grylls.

As a child, Bear got a taste for adventure as a scout, and says he was always up trees, "climbing tall objects", and generally giving his mother a fright.

"I always wanted to be having adventures. I got to follow my heart and do what I love."

His father taught him to climb the cliffs on the Isle of Wight and at the age of 8, his father gave him a picture of Everest. Grylls achieved his childhood dream of scaling Everest at 23, and entered the Guinness Book of Records at the time for being the youngest Briton to do so. It is this feat which Grylls cites as his greatest achievement in his work life.

Two years before scaling Everest, Grylls broke his back in three places after a parachuting accident in Zambia. Doctors doubted he would walk again.

He has since led ground-breaking expeditions across the world and raised millions of dollars for many charities he is involved with along the way.

"Everest was a special time and achievement because I fought my way back after my injury. I'm also proud of, without sounding too corny, marrying the girl I fell in love with, the apple of my eye."

Appointed as the youngest ever Chief Scout to the Scout Association, adrenalin-junkie Grylls has a black belt in karate and once featured in People magazine's sexiest men list, but says the best thing about his adventurous life is the opportunity to meet interesting people wherever he goes.

"We've got a pretty packed schedule in New Zealand, I'm shooting something for Air New Zealand and a few other things but I always make time to have a look around and talk to people. I love coming to New Zealand, it's like a home away from home."

Grylls is also performing at Wellington's TSB Bank Arena on Friday, and at Auckland's Vector Arena next Sunday.

Home, by the way, is a barge on the River Thames and an island on Llyn Peninsula, North Wales.

Having eaten all manner of curious wildlife, Grylls says he's reluctant to send food back in restaurants and describes himself as a "nightmare" holiday companion.

"I took my wife for a weekend away once. We checked in and she came running out of the bathroom, there were ants everywhere - the place was infested with them."

Grylls went to ask hotel staff about changing rooms and was told: "Ants? What? You eat the ants".

He says he replied: "I know, normally, but I'm on holiday."

For more information about Grylls' New Zealand shows, visit

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