Survivor New Zealand 2018 winner, Lisa

Congratulations Lisa. You had to wait quite a while to find out you’d won, didn’t you?
Yeah, four or five months. Which seemed like a really long time. 

How were you feeling leading into it, confident? 
No, you can never be confident in Survivor I don’t think. I always thought I had a chance, but it really comes down to what the Jury values, and how they felt about the Dave and Matt stuff, that was a really big factor. 

Dave and Matt were friends before the show, which came under the spotlight a little bit. Do you think that played into your hands in the end, when the Jury found out?  
It’s easy for me to have a good attitude about it, because I’m probably the only person it really benefitted. I don’t really know if it did benefit Matt and Dave overall, and there’s certainly some people on the Jury who felt like it didn’t benefit them. But I think if they hadn’t been friends, I still could have got to the end. It was a real tricky situation, but I love both those guys. 

How long did you spend preparing your final Tribal Council speech? 
About a day. We had no pen and paper - so I actually got some charcoal from the fire, and some water, and a variety of sticks, and I wrote out my speech on the back of our auction money envelope. I just worked away, edited out stuff and added more in. I knew it was very, very important.  

How much of an improvement do you think this season was, in terms of aggressive gameplay? 
Everyone in this season came to play, everyone has a different attitude though. Not everyone’s all about the super strategy, some people just try and make some alliances and tuck in there until the end. But I know there was a lot of strategic thinking, lots of people had seen a lot of Survivor and were trying to bring in elements from other seasons. 

Was it satisfying that you, as one of the more aggressive gameplayers, actually won in the end? I don’t buy this whole “honesty” thing, it’s Survivor! 
Yeah it is a game, it’s not real life, and the Jury did reward me for playing the game. I did lie to people, but like I said in my final Tribal speech - all the relationships I built with people, and everything I talked about that wasn’t the game, that was all me, it was all very authentic and real. But when it comes to the “who are you going to vote for?” parts, you need to lie. I do think you need to lie to win. 

Did you have faith that the people on the Jury would respect good gameplay, as opposed to the personal side?
I really hoped they would. I don’t know if I had faith, but I hoped they would because that was the only way I was going to win. 

So $250,000 prize money, what are you going to do with it? 
Mostly boring stuff, but I am going to do some travelling with my son. I hadn’t really travelled until I went to Thailand for Survivor, so I want him to experience the world.

A lot of people that go on Survivor say that it changes their life, do you think it did that for you? 
It’s certainly been a hard adjustment coming back. I’m not sure it’s changed my life, I think it’s more about trying to get back to who I was before I went on Survivor. But this was a very concrete dream that I’ve realised. I was out there by myself, and I worked hard and I did it. So I do have that faith now, that I could do that in other areas of my life as well.