Samuel Thomas, on the far left, was placed third overall in the New Zealand Chilli Eating Champs Competition last month. SUPPLIED/21062313
Cook Islands champion Samuel Thomas finished third at the New Zealand Chilli Eating Champs Competition at Freemans Bay, Auckland last month.
Rarotonga resident Thomas represented the country in its first ever
chilli eating competition held on May 29, competing against nine other
contestants and champions across different parts of New Zealand.
He qualified for the NZ event after claiming Paul Lynch’s chilli eating
competition which was held in early May this year. Lynch accompanied Thomas to
the contest in Auckland.
In Auckland, the 10 competitors endured 38 rounds of the contest,
consuming 15 different types of the country’s hottest chillies. Winners were
decided according to who was left standing.
Thomas completed up to 35 rounds before tapping out, an excellent effort
considering the fact that his only preparation for the event was consuming a
few ghost peppers from Lynch’s hot sauce stall at the Punanga Nui the Saturday
before they left for New Zealand and a few tips from YouTube.
Lynch said the NZ competition was a sold out with spectators, including
a few Cook Islanders, watching and cheering on the chilli chompers.
Thomas, who is a New Zealander, said he was really touched by the
support from locals here and Cook Islanders in Auckland.
Lynch added: “He was really proud to
represent the Cooks, and really wanted to win.”
Being the only international competitor, Thomas was a crowd favourite
and his stamina and focus wowed the crowd on the day.
“He didn’t show any reaction to the crowd and the way the contest was
advancing with hotter chillies for every round. He was like Superman,” said Lynch,
who livestreamed the event for supporters in Rarotonga.
In his immense concentration Thomas surprised media reporters on the
day, only uttering the words “God is good”, when asked for comments during the
The organisers on the day shared how this was the longest chilli eating
competition in the world. Surprised at the determination of all the contestants
to remain in the contest as long as possible, the organisers were forced to
double up on the chillies being consumed to eliminate people faster. Thomas
along with two other contestants were the only ones to remain until the final
He received $200 for third place and is looking forward to competing
again, if given the chance.