Instead, we're suddenly transported to full daylight, while Phil walks next to an entire squadron of Maori warriors in traditional dress (or lack thereof) and face tattoos, chanting and slapping their chests while making extremely scary faces. They're so intimidating they don't really even need weapons. I happen to have just read about this in the book Full Circle by Michael Palin, who describes this challenge ceremony known as the willigi: They thrust their bodies toward me, waving their spears up and down, grunting, chanting, stamping the ground and making frightful faces. Apart from some of the London reviews of my play, I have never encountered quite such a display of naked hostility (or, in this case, semi-naked hostility). Eyes are rolled, tongues extended, mouths stretched in sneers of disgust and loathing that would make a gargoyle look like Julia Roberts. Which pretty much nails it. And now, I have co-written something with a member of Monty Python. I rock! Anyway, Phil tells us that the person doing the Road Block will need to choose one of the red-framed white cards that have Rorschach-like patterns printed on them. Then they have to match the image on the card to the warrior who is wearing it on his face. If the player gets it wrong, the warrior will grab their card and run off with it, forcing the racer to start over. But if they're right, the warrior will give them their clue. And a hongi. But more on that later.
Terence is taking his first Road Block, and he approaches the ranks of screaming, posing, displaying Maoris, who look very grumpy about having to be up this early. There's even a spear-wielding sentry acting all threatening behind the box of tattoo cards. Terence gets to work, crouching down with his little flashlight and headlamp like they won't see him if he just stays low enough. Eventually he thinks he finds a match, but the guy snatches away the card and he has to try again. "Don't get discouraged!" Sarah calls to him over the din, then in the very same breath turns to the camera and wails, "Oh, no," the very picture of discouragement. At least the lights of Auckland are very pretty, laid out far below them.
Four teams are also en route to Mount Eden, and when Ty and Aja find their clue, it's five. "I have the utmost faith in us," he says, in front of a rapidly lightening sky. At the Sky Tower, Ken and Tina have gone as high as the elevator will take them, and a guide is telling Tina that their ladder climb will begin inside the mast. "How far do we have to go on the outside?" she asks. The unspoken answer: given that she'll be about half a mile above Victoria Street in the open air, it's going to be really fucking far.