The 2015 Mr Gay New Zealand Matt Fistonich is a former RNZAF fire fighter and 'average Kiwi bloke' from Waitakere who wants to bring the Mr Gay World title back to New Zealand again. The 24-year-old title-holder answers a few questions for GayNZ.com:
At the end of the day I'm just an average Kiwi bloke, I enjoy going to the gym, love cars, and attempt to build/renovate but end up having to pay a professional to do it.
What made you decide to enter Mr Gay NZ?
I view it as an opportunity to positively represent the gay community of New Zealand and New Zealand as a nation on an international level.
What does it mean to you to win?
Iâ€™m proud to represent New Zealand in this event, in short â€¦ Iâ€™m pretty stoked.
What does being â€˜Mr Gay NZâ€™ mean to you?
I believe it means being a fair representation of what it is like to be an average gay guy in New Zealand, in conjunction with being an effective ambassador for the community. Mr Gay New Zealand needs to be a competition based on the competitorsâ€™ achievements and personal qualities as opposed to a competition purely based on oneâ€™s "attractiveness".
Where were you born, and where did you grow up?
I was born in Auckland where I grew up until I was 17 when I joined the RNZAF as a Fire Fighter, where I travelled all over the country doing course after course with the NZDF.
Whatâ€™s your â€˜coming out storyâ€™?
Once I had come to terms with it myself I quickly established that if any of my friends were resistant to my sexuality then the reality was they were were not real friends. Once again people where were surprised, however contrary to popular belief, the RNZAF and the NZDF on the whole are actually extremely inclusive places to work in. One thing that really stood out to me was the fact that the people who you initially think will be most against it are often the most open and supportive in the end.
Where do you live now and what do you think of it?
I current live in my home in Waitakere, Auckland. I love the place, the neighbours are fantastic and it has a strong community feel.
What do you do for a job?
I am currently working for an online magazine "eikonline.com" which has a strong focus on the New Zealand gay community.
My only hobbies that I really do religiously are running and going to the gym, I strongly believe that oneâ€™s personally fitness is of paramount importance.
What are you most proud of in your life so far?
The thing I am most proud of in my life is my family and my close circle of friends that continue to support me through the good times and the bad.
If you could have any two people over for dinner, who would
they be and what would you cook?
Can I have them on separate nights?? If yes then Justin Beiber one night and Helen Clark the other, I can imagine she would have some amazing stories. I would probably do a bbq for Helen and probably salmon steaks for the Biebs.
What rules do you live your life by?
"Health is Wealth", and "treat others the way you what to be treated"
Are you happy to foot your own bill for the trip to South
Africa, or will you seek sponsorship?
Ideally I would love to have sponsors on board to support me as I venture to South Africa.
Itâ€™s been a bit of a lull year - what do you see for the
future of Mr Gay NZ?
What has happened in the past is not my concern, I believe there is a bright future ahead for the Mr Gay New Zealand competition, provided it is conducted in a positive way ensuring inclusivity, transparency and professionalism.
What do you hope to personally achieve as the title holder?
I personally would like to change the often negative stereotypical perception of what it is the to be a gay guy, at the end of the day we are just like everybody else and we come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, we just have a different sexual preference. Most people where are astounded when they discover I'm gay, as I don't fit the stereotypical mould that we as gay men are "supposed to be." We are all unique and we should celebrate that.
Are you concerned about the organisation of Mr Gay World, or
confident last yearâ€™s issues have been sorted out?
Iâ€™m not overly concerned at all, I don't believe in mistakes, only opportunities to learn and better ourselves.
And how excited are you about taking on the world in South
Iâ€™m extremely excited, also very nervous as I'm really not sure what to expect entirely. I definitely intend to make Mr Gay World a Kiwi again.