Christchurch duo takes on Amazing Race

JAMES CROOT AND SHABNAM DASTGHEIB
Last updated 12:18 05/08/2014
stuff.co.nz

We have a chat with Christchurch Amazing Race contestants Emily & Jono.

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They were nicknamed the "Von Trapps" because of their habit of breaking out into song and dance at odd times, but there's definitely a competitive side to Amazing Race hopefuls Emily and Jono Trenberth.

The Christchurch siblings joined forces to compete in this year's Amazing Race, which pits New Zealand against Australia in a trans-Tasman showdown.

Teams follow clues in a race around the world, crossing ten countries. The winner of the series is the first team to finish the final leg and collect the grand prize of $250,000.

Emily, 24, works as a model and dancer when she isn't studying radiography. She still lives in Christchurch, while Jono, 26, has made the move to Wellington where he works in advertising.

Ahead of tonight's show debut, the duo tells James Croot why they think their family connection will give them a huge advantage.

What persuaded you to take part in the Race? What sort of preparation and how much did you do? Have you been avid fans of the show from the start?

Jono: Emily and I have wanted to do it ever since we were kids. When the first season aired I was 11 I think? We announced then to Mum and Dad that we would do the Race and we would win, and then we would buy a huge house!

Emily: When I saw they were looking for Kiwi teams I Facebooked Jono immediately. It's really the dream reality show. You get to travel the world and it's all recorded on TV so you can watch yourself do these incredible things. I wish we had had more time to prep, I would have gone for a few more runs! I'm a bit girly, so my prep was getting a spray tan and my hair done.

What qualities do each of you bring? What makes you such a great team and what advantage do you think you have as siblings?

Emily: We just get on so well. As brother and sister we know each other crazily well. If we do fight, we don't take it personally. We never lose our friendship. We are both secretly really competitive and we have similar outlooks - we try to be positive no matter what happens. Ultimately, we were just in it for the experience. It wasn't about the $250,000 for us, it was just about having the best time we possibility could.

Jono: Emily is strong, smart and fearless. She has been that way her whole life and I can't think of anyone better to do The Amazing Race with! I bring a suspicious mind and strategy to the team I think, not to mention rugged good looks and charisma. Emily and I make a perfect team because we have an unbreakable bond. We know each other so well in only the way family can. To me, that makes us a huge threat because that's an advantage no one else on the show has.

How much travelling have you done? Separately and together? What countries did you think you had an advantage in and which ones were you hoping to visit?

Jono: I moved to Italy when I was 18 to work for an adventure education company. Emily joined me two years later when she graduated from high school. From there we travelled all through Europe, America and Asia together. That was five years ago now, and since then Emily has done heaps of travel of her own and now instead of being a protective older brother, most of the time she is the one looking after me!

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Emily: When were first travelled together, he was the "big bro", speaking fluent Italian, and I was the 18-year-old. But now I actually have an opinion on everything, which I think has surprised Jono. He's like, "when did you get so sassy!" I'd love to go to Africa if I had the opportunity.

How intense was the rivalry between New Zealand and Australia and how did it manifest itself on the show?

Jono: Emily and I are very proud New Zealanders and Cantabrians - Emily is one of the Crusader Maidens - so naturally we wanted to destroy the Aussies, just based on principle.

Emily: Like any competition with Australia - netball, rugby etc - there's a natural rivalry that takes a hold. Instantly the Kiwis were united. I think that's a very Kiwi quality - we were happy to work as a team. It definitely made us all more competitive. I think the Australians were more in it for themselves, as individuals, whereas we were more likely to help each other out. Everyone wants their team to win. But if you can't win, you definitely want another Kiwi team in the top spot.

What are the differences between New Zealanders and Australians that you noticed while on the show?

Emily: We think New Zealanders are patriotic, and they are, but they are humble about it. We're not showy. The Australians are very loud and proud. I like to think that we're very equal in the tradition of Anzacs, but some of the Aussie teams definitely weren't out to support the Kiwis.

Jono: What struck me was not our differences but how similar we were. Once we were done making fun of each other's accents and finally setting them straight about the pavlova debacle, you really see how much we have in common.

What's one thing you can tell us about the filming of the show that viewers might not know or would be surprised by?

Jono: If you never see a team eat or drink on the show - it's because they are not eating or drinking! Often the only meal you will have is on the plane ride to whatever country you are going to!

Emily: Often, when you're making dumb decisions it's because you haven't slept in days. A leg can be two to three days - you might have caught a few flights and you might be really hungry. So it can be difficult to make the right decisions when you're so sleep deprived. Sometimes you don't shower for two days either. I wanted to look good on the race, but it was pretty much impossible! Jono didn't let me pack my foundation anyway!

What would you do with the $250,000 if you won it?

Emily: It would change our lives. I'd set some aside for travel and I'd definitely put down a house deposit and pay off my student loans. It would definitely kick start Jono's and my life.

Jono: Try to convince Emily to split it 60/40.

The Amazing Race: Australia vs New Zealand, 8.45pm, Tuesdays, TV2.

Click here for a live chat with Hamilton husband and wife duo Cat and Jesse.

- The Press

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