Hosts and judges announced for new series, The Great Kiwi Bake Off

The hosts for TVNZ2's mouth-watering new series The Great Kiwi Bake Off has been announced today.

Madeleine Sami, Hayley Sproull, Dean Brettschneider and Sue Fleischl will front the show as it goes into production this week.

The Great Kiwi Bake Off will bring conflict, drama and bowlfuls of comedy as 12 amateur Kiwi bakers have their cake-baking, pastry, bread-making and patisserie skills tested to the limit in a bid to be crowned New Zealand's best amateur baker.

The hosting duo of Madeleine Sami (The Breaker Upperers, Super City, Sione’s Wedding) and Hayley Sproull (Hayley’s Kitchen, Jono and Ben) will be ready to lend a hand in the kitchen or a shoulder to cry on when the home bakers take up the ultimate baking battle.

With backgrounds in comedy, acting, directing and writing, Madeleine and Hayley can’t wait to roll up their sleeves and watch the drama unfold in the kitchen and of course, indulge in some home-baked goodness.

Madeleine Sami says: "I'm really looking forward to working on Bake Off, it's one of my favourite TV shows and when the opportunity came up to work on the Kiwi version I literally squealed with excitement.

"It is such a sweet natured show, literally and figuratively, and I can't wait to meet the contestants as that’s always who I fall in love with most when I watch the show myself."

Hayley Sproull added: "I can't wait to host the show alongside Madeleine. We both love food and love to have fun so it's going to be a wild ride – fuelled by sugar, icing and lots of cream!

Bringing their baking expertise to the judging table are award-winning baker and patissier Dean Brettschneider (New Zealand’s Hottest Home Baker) and renowned chef Sue Fleischl, owner of Auckland's The Great Catering Company.

Known internationally as "the Global Baker" and dubbed the "Kiwi king of baking", Dean is widely respected as a skilled and innovative craftsman with cookbooks, television shows, cafes, and a baking school to his name.

Dean Bettscheider says: "I can’t wait to get cracking on the show and to see and nurture all the great home bakers that come through the Bake Off doors. Together with Sue, I look forward to inspiring the rest of New Zealand to get their bake on."

An acclaimed chef, Sue was trained at the Savoy hotel in London. She has over 20 years' experience heading up The Great Catering Company and has a passion for food, an eye for detail, style and quality as well as a flair for business.

Sue Fleischl says: "I am so excited to be a judge alongside the very talented Dean Brettschneider. We have a great line up of enthusiastic, creative home bakers who I am sure will whisk up some culinary delights for us over the weeks to come."

Chris Parker. Source: 1 NEWS

Exclusive to TVNZ OnDemand, comedian Chris Parker (Jono and Ben, Hudson and Halls Live!) will serve up an extra slice of Bake Off magic to viewers with The Great Kiwi Bake Off: An Extra Slice.

Straight after the show each week, viewers can go online to go behind the scenes on all the week’s soufflés and souf-fails. Joined by special guests, Chris will take a funny and irreverent look at the action in the tent as he shines a spotlight on the good, the bad and the soggy bottomed from each episode.

Love baking? Got a baking fail you don’t mind sharing with the rest of Aotearoa? Find out how you can be part of the show at

The Great Kiwi Bake Off will air on TVNZ2 later this year.

L-R. Sue Fleischl, Madeleine Sami, Hayley Sproull, Dean Brettschneider - The Great Kiwi Bake Off Source: 1 NEWS


The mystery of the purple orange solved in Brisbane

A sharpened knife has been revealed as the culprit in the mystery of an orange that turned purple in Brisbane earlier this month.

Resident Neti Moffitt asked for an investigation after slices of an orange she cut up for her two-year-old son turned purple hours later.

Pieces he'd sucked on, and uneaten pieces Ms Moffitt had left on the kitchen bench, all turned part-purple.

"It looks like someone's dipped it on an ink pad, which I guarantee you we haven't," Ms Moffitt told the ABC at the time.

A Queensland Health officer took the discoloured orange slices, a knife used to cut it, a sharpener that had been used on it recently and other items for forensic testing.

Scientists have now revealed the discolouration was due to a natural reaction between the fruit and the sharpened knife, the BBC reports. 

Queensland Health's chief chemist, Stewart Carswell, said numerous tests were conducted to determine the cause of the colour change.

The results revealed that anthocyanins - a naturally occurring antioxidant in oranges - had reacted with iron particles from the newly sharpened blade, he said.

"We see samples that range from blood, urine, water, soil, fish and foodstuffs. So to have an orange come through was really different for our team." 

The Queensland government said it had assured the family the orange was not a health risk.

Following the incident, Ms Moffitt found one other case on the internet of an orange turning purple, also in Queensland in 2015, the ABC reported.

A Nine News report at the time had said forensic testing had ruled out artificial colouring, and no iodine was found.

One of the slices of orange that turned purple after being cut open. Source: ABC/ Neti Moffitt


NZ strawberry grower forks out $20,000 for security measures

An Auckland strawberry grower has forked out more than $20,000 for metal detectors, after needle-ridden strawberries were found in New Zealand.

On Sunday, three needles were found in one punnet of Western Australian strawberries at an Auckland supermarket.

It was still unclear where the needles came from.

Australia's strawberry contamination crisis comes just as New Zealand growers are about to put their fruit on the market.

The Zaberri Strawberry farm is just 20 minutes north of Auckland City.

A large silver tin shed sits at the entrance, that's the pack house, and 29 fields lined with rows of strawberry plants surround it.

The farm's owner, who goes by one name, Boman, has run the place for nine years.

In two weeks 150 of his workers will start the harvest.

"We pick [the strawberries] in the early hours of the morning, so ideally we try to have all of our fields picked before... midday, one o'clock and they'll be picked here, and scanned and sent to the packhouse," he said.

Police in Australia have been investigating more than 100 reports of contaminated fruit, many of which are believed to be hoaxes and copycat incidents.

And every Australian strawberry now has to pass through a metal detector before it can be exported.

The same regulations have not been imposed on the 150 New Zealand growers - but Boman was not taking any risks.

"So, we've invested in metal detectors, which will be installed here before our season starts and everything that's been picked and packed will be examined.

"We'll be adding additional surveillance cameras to capture everything that goes in and out of our cool stores," he said.

Despite spending more than $20,000 on the new security measures, Boman is certain the strawberry sabotage crisis won't happen here.

"Some might think that it's over the top, but I think it is better to be ready to ensure our industry is not put into a chaos like what's happened in Australia," he said.

It's a crucial time for strawberry growers - the harvest season has already started for some and it's about to start for others.

The Australian industry, worth about $AU130 million annually, was hit at the start of its season.

The scare prompted product recalls and forced growers to destroy their crops.

If the situation here reaches the same level, the $35m New Zealand industry will be hit hard, Boman said.

"It'll have a significant impact on our financial ability going forward, and not just for us, I think right across, from the growers mainly, retailers will be affected and there will be many employees.

"We've got people here whose whole family relies on them."

The maximum penalty for contaminating food in New Zealand is ten years' imprisonment.

By Katie Scotcher

Strawberry grower Boman
Strawberry grower Boman. Source:


Cast for TV adaptation of Kiwi writer's Booker Prize winning The Luminaries named

The lead cast members in the BBC drama adaption of Eleanor Catton's Man Booker Prize-winning novel The Luminaries have been revealed, with NZ actor Marton Csokas taking a main role. 

Csokas will join play Francis Carver in the television version of the book, BBC Two has confirmed.

He will join Eva Green, who will take on the role of Lydia Wells, and Eve Hewson, who will play Anna Wetherell.

The six-part adaptation of the story - a Victorian mystery tale set during the New Zealand gold rush - was originally announced in 2016.

Catton adapted her own novel for the screenplay and the series will be directed by Australian film-maker Claire McCarthy.

The New Zealand author became the youngest ever winner of the Man Booker Prize - aged 28 - when The Luminaries won in 2013.

The 832-page book was also the longest work to win in the prize's history.

The Luminaries.

Watch: Will Smith marks 50th birthday with bungee jump out of helicopter into Grand Canyon

Like a scene out of a high-octane action movie that he would star in, Will Smith celebrated his 50th birthday today by successfully bungee jumping from a helicopter near the Grand Canyon.

Cameras, which captured the stunt for a livestream on YouTube , showed the actor hooked to a harness and bungee cords dangling over a gorge in northeastern Arizona.

"This is some of the most beautiful stuff I've ever seen in my life," Smith said while still swinging over the chasm.

He described the experience as going "from pure terror to absolute bliss".

The entire event had the feel of a polished episode of reality TV. Camera crews showed Smith, wife Jada Pinkett Smith and his three children being greeted by dozens of relatives and friends on a platform.

His Fresh Prince of Bel-Air co-star, Alfonso Ribeiro, served as a host interviewing Smith and others before and after.

The stunt was billed as a leap "in the heart of the Grand Canyon". But the jump was outside Grand Canyon National Park on the Navajo Nation. The tribe's reservation borders the east rim of the national park.

A Navajo medicine man gave Smith a blessing and thanked him for coming to the reservation.

Smith said the bungee jump was a challenge from Yes Theory, a YouTube channel that makes videos of people doing activities outside of their comfort zone.

But the event also raised money for charity through an online lottery for a chance to watch the jump in person. The proceeds will benefit access to education for children in struggling countries.

Smith used the stunt to fundraise for education for children in struggling countries. Source: Will Smith / YouTube