Shaun Wallace — aka The Dark Destroyer —famed for his appearances on TV show The Chase — is offering tips to keen quizzers around the country this month.

The popular programme’s first Chaser sold out his New Plymouth appearance this week, where he was raising funds for the I Am Hope suicide prevention initiative.

Wallace got the rock star welcome at the Believe It Or Not quiz event at the Plymouth International Hotel and with good reason.

The first Black UK Mastermind and grand finalist in the first series of Are You An Egghead? knows a thing or two about the art form.

“A good quizzer is a quizzer who takes part in a lot of quizzes who is always prepared to learn, always looks for the clues in the question and is fearless when they are answering questions.

“For me, it’s not rote learning, for me, it’s all about interests. If you’re interested in things and you want to expand your mind and you want to test your knowledge in the quizzing environment then that’s the best way to become a good quizzer.”

Wallace joined a quiz team each round — for a price — with the overall winners going head-to-head with the Dark Destroyer in a Chase-like scenario.

“So at the end of the quiz, the best team will send up their best four players up against me in a sort of final Chase.”

The key to beating a Chaser?

“Fearlessness, having the ability to be confident in your own ability as a quizzer and don’t be fearful that you are facing a professional quizzer like me.”

Quiz winners the Mixed Nuts who defeated Shaun Wallace in the final Chase in New Plymouth on July 8, 2024.

Jimmy Hick just had to be at the event.

“We’re all big pub quiz fans and then we heard the Dark Destroyer was coming to town, so we thought we couldn’t miss the opportunity. We’d have to come along and test our mental fortitude against him.

“He’s just a bit of a legend. You see him every night in your living room on TV and he’s ruthless, it’s just another day at the office for him.”

His team’s name betrayed their devotion to the quiz show.

“If you’re a Chase fan, you’ll get it. It’s what we’ve written down anyhow.”

He explained further.

“There’s a blooper, a classic blooper on the Chase with presenter Bradley Walsh where he loses it and can’t stop laughing and it [our team name] is one of the answers and apparently she is a Swedish skier.”

Jamie (left) and Christine Fenton of Bits and Pieces went to have fun and help out the I Am Hope cause.

Christine Fenton of the Bits and Pieces team knew their strength.

“It’s the only sport we are good at. So yeah, we’re here with friends and just thought we’d bring a group of people together and have some fun and raise some money for a good cause.”

Distinctly Average’s Jayden Lane had a quizzer’s wit.

“Knowing the answers generally helps. A good data plan is always good just so you’re able to cheat under the table… no, that’s not true.”

Alistair Holden of the Absolute Zero thought having Shaun Wallace in the team would've given them more of a boost.

Alistair Holdem of the Absolutely Zeros did not experience the expected Wallace boost when he joined their team.

“It’s kinda helpful, but kinda not. He’s like the rest of us, no clue at all, but giving it a go. He’s no better than the rest of us.”

Wallace, who was still a practising barrister and was not paid for his appearance, was happy to support worthy causes.

“One of the reasons I came over to New Zealand was that I wanted to use my fame to shine a spotlight on really important charities who really do need that publicity in terms of awareness and as much cash as possible.

“So, that’s one reason I’m here. It’s one of my favourite places on Earth and if I can use my fame in an altruistic way that’s what I’m going to be doing.”

I Am Hope event manager Michaiah Simmons says events such as the Shaun Wallace quiz nights allow the organisation to continue to offer free counselling to young people.

I Am Hope event manager Michaiah Simmons, who addressed the crowd before the quiz got underway, said the contribution of people like Wallace was important for the organisation.

“It’s incredible, you know, every time someone like this comes and supports us as a charity, it’s so heart-warming. We really rely on people to keep the doors open and keep providing the free counselling sessions that we do and the school programmes.

“It’s important for everyone to have fun, but also remember why we are here and the reality of what people are living with day to day. The struggles young people are living with and the stress and struggle their parents live with or even worse when they lose a young person.”

Overall quiz winners — the Mixed Nuts — went on to defeat Wallace in the final Chase, but either way it was “just another day at the office” for the Dark Destroyer.