The Upper Hutt star of controversial new reality show The GC says he had no idea it would ''be this big''.
Tame Noema, 23, admits he was initially embarrassed watching himself in the first episode of the TV3 series, which aired last night.
The show follows a group of young, image-conscious Maoris working and partying on the Gold Coast.
''I just laughed through the whole thing,'' Noema says. ''When you hear your own voice on TV it's so weird.''
As for the outcry about the show: ''There's a lot of hate, but a lot of love as well.''
Born in Palmerston North, but raised in Timberlea, the sports-loving scaffolder moved to Australia in 2006 after finishing school at Upper Hutt College.
''Everybody was doing building apprenticeships [in Wellington] and I just thought 'Nah, I'm going to go get the dollar,'' he says.
''There's lots of opportunities over here.
''People don't really realise how much the dollar difference is. I remember wanting to move back home a few years ago and scaffolding was NZ$15 an hour flat rate. Over here I'm on about AU$44-$46.''
Noema's parents and younger brother also moved across the ditch.
''Coming from Timberlea, it's a rough area and even [his brother] was getting into the whole gang thing, so it's the best thing that they've done.''
Nonetheless, Noema maintains strong links to his home town.
''I'll still back the Canes no matter what. Although, I've been losing a lot of cartons lately due to losing bets with fellow workers. But what do you do?''
He says a friend asked him to interview for The GC last year.
''To be honest I didn't know what to expect.
''They just said they were doing this show and me, I'm like the easiest going person ever, and I just roll with things. The next thing I knew I was getting ready to film.''
He maintains that what you see is what you get.
"Nothing's different other than there's cameras there. It's not like when you're doing a show with completely random people. Because we're so close it ended up being real fun and easy really.''
Noema laughs at the thought his now infamous vocabulary, which includes terms like ''aunties'' (single girls) and ''creep on'' (scoring girls), could take off in New Zealand.
''The lingo is just us being cheeky and mucking around. It's just random stuff and me, Zane and Jade [Louise] talking rubbish.''
*Comments have been closed
- © Fairfax NZ News
From which group will the X Factor winner come?Related story: (See story)