Hard-core survivalist Bear Grylls is set to make his Kiwi debut to raise money for a children's hospital and the families of the Pike River miners.
The adventure-mad Briton, star of "reality" TV show Man vs. Wild, has been confirmed for two New Zealand events next month as part of a charity fundraiser.
Grylls, 36, began his climb to fame in 1998, when he entered the Guinness Book of Records as the youngest Briton to conquer Everest, just two years after breaking his back parachuting.
His show, called Born Survivor in Britain, features Grylls dropping into inhospitable places and showing viewers how to make it on their own in the wild. Stunts have included free-climbing waterfalls, wrestling alligators and using the corpse of a sheep as a sleeping bag.
Organiser Jamie Templeton, from ShadowCorp Entertainment, said he decided to create the event after hearing so much about the Pike River tragedy and Wellington Children's Hospital in the news.
"Bear is all about making it in any situation – and something like Pike River where they've been through so much, there's a lot of correlation there," Templeton said.
"He is the everyday working-man's hero. He makes you realise that against all odds, and with the right attitude, anything is possible."
Grylls was rumoured to be coming to New Zealand to film an episode of the show after 7000 fans launched a Facebook campaign to get him to Fiordland last year, but it is not known if he will be shooting while here.
Profits from the two shows – one at Auckland's Skycity Convention Centre on March 2, the other at Wellington's Michael Fowler Centre on March 3 – would be split evenly between the charities, Templeton said.
The events would also include acts from New Zealand musician Tiki Taane and comedian Cori Gonzalez.
Wellington Hospitals & Health Foundation chairman Bill Day said he was delighted Grylls was supporting them.
Tickets for the two events will be available from tomorrow from Ticketek (Wellington) and Dash Tickets (Auckland).
History Of A Wild Man
Bear was born Edward Michael Grylls on June 7, 1974 – he has said that his older sister nicknamed him "Bear" when he was only a week old.
He joined the British Army after leaving Eton College and was a member of the United Kingdom Special Forces Selection, serving twice in North Africa.
After breaking his back in three places in a parachuting accident in 1996, Grylls fought his way to recovery, and two years later entered the Guinness Book of Records as the youngest Briton to climb Mt Everest, aged 23.
In 2009, Grylls was appointed Chief Scout, a figurehead to 28 million Scouts worldwide. He also has a karate black belt.
In one episode of Man vs. Wild, Grylls wrapped his urine-soaked T-shirt around his head to help stave off the desert heat.
In 2007 Channel 4 temporarily suspended Man vs. Wild after a crew member said that some scenes were misleading. The criticism included allegations that the programme made it look as if Grylls was living rough in the wild when in fact he often stayed in hotels, and of a raft being put together by team members, then taken apart so Grylls could be filmed making it. After the allegations, Discovery and Channel 4 promised better production and editing transparency and clarification on the show.
Grylls is married and has three sons named Jesse, Marmaduke and Huckleberry.
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