Matua Willie, as he's called at Te Kura Kaupapa Māori o Te Ara Hōu in Napier, has been crowned the nation's Mastermind. The English teacher took out the intellectual quiz programme after it returned to our screens for the first time in 20 years.
It's cause for celebration in the Te Ara Hōu staff room.
TKKM o Te Ara Hōu English teacher William Barnes says, “It's been unbelievable in the full sense of the word to be on the same list as the Masterminds of yesteryear it's amazing and I've just had so much attention and positive support lately that it's blown me away.”
The 36-year old says it was great for him to unleash his inner nerd and he relished the opportunity to study for four months before the competition.
“I was trying to do 4.5 hours a day when I wasn't at work otherwise I'd do 90minutes when I got home from work too, so it was just consistent effort.”
For the last five years, he's been teaching English here to high school students, students he thinks of as his nieces and nephews.
Student TJ Daley says, “It's a big achievement. He's at the top of his game, so we're very fortunate. He's our English teacher here, so we're very happy that this year's Mastermind winner teaches us.”
Barnes says, “I'm OK. I can speak Māori, but only a little.”
Barnes has a double major in history and English from Auckland University and was crowned the winner at the grand finale on Sunday night on TVONE.