Survivor New Zealand's first jury member Arun Bola

After 24 days in the game, Waikato farmer Arun Bola became the eighth person eliminated from Survivor New Zealand – and the first member of the Jury.

As two tribes became one in the merge, old alliances were shaken up turning even the strongest friendships against each other.

As Khanghkaw and Chani prepared for the Reward Challenge, many of the castaways were already strategising for the anticipated merge.

In the Reward Challenge, the tribes had to fire sandbags from a slingshot at a wall of targets. The first tribe to hit five targets in a row took out reward.

But it turned out everyone was a winner as Matt told the castaways to ‘drop their buffs’. They were now one tribe, Phsan, meaning ‘to merge’ in Thai.

The Immunity Challenge became a different game after merge. For the first time, each castaway walked into the challenge with their life in their own hands.

Each castaway was given 120 wooden tiles to build a house of cards. The first person to reach three metres or the highest stack after 20 minutes would win immunity.

Tess and Lisa were neck and neck, but both dramatically lost the lead when their towers toppled to the ground.

As the timer went, Matt’s stack reigned supreme giving him the win and individual immunity.

Going into their first Tribal Council as Phsan, alliances were in doubt. Would old pacts prove strong or had cross-tribal lines been formed?

Having spent time together in Chani, Arun put his faith in Matt and their new alliance. But Lisa had an advantage in the game – a double vote she won at the Outpost that she decided to use against Arun.

Coupled with a move that saw Arun’s original Chani alliance Renee turn to new allies and vote out an old friend – Arun was eliminated from the game.

Looking back at his time in the game Arun says, “Survivor, what an amazing experience! This was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I am so grateful to have been part of it at all. I met some amazing people and have made lifelong memories and friends.”

“From the get-go, I wanted to play as hard as I could. From throwing challenges to rigging sticks, to making sure I had my fingers in as many pies as possible.”

“Going into merge, odds were well stacked against me. I tried my hardest to pull votes, but the beast that is Survivor ultimately saw me outplayed.”

Arun will remain in Thailand until the final Tribal Council on Day 39, where he and seven other eliminated Survivors – known as the Jury – will decide who becomes New Zealand’s 2018 Sole Survivor.

Who will join Arun in Jury Villa next? 

Survivor New Zealand continues Sundays at 7pm on TVNZ 2. Stream the latest episodes right here.

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