Peta Mathias gets off the plane at La Paz, Bolivia — and the world's — highest airport. She steps straight into poverty, altitude sickness, stunning scenery and likable people. Her Bolivian experience includes sub-zero temperatures, uninspiring food and the infamous mining town of Potosi. But as she writes in her diary, adventure travel means, "no skidding over the surfaces, no observing through Prada sunglasses, no shirking from the reality of the culture. In that sense the journey is unforgettable because it's so intense and puts you right up against the wall."
Food, travel and television are synonymous with Peta Mathias. For 12 years she hosted TVNZ’s Taste New Zealand and its spin-off shows Toast New Zealand, Taste Takes Off and A Taste of Home. Mathias says her toughest TV moment came in Bolivia as part of the Intrepid Journeys series. It was a trip she describes as 'pure hell'. As well as her TV credits, Mathias has written several books about food and travel, and leads food tours to her favourite gastronomic hot spots around the world.
Long-running travel series Intrepid Journeys took Kiwi celebrities (from All Blacks to music legends to ex-Prime Ministers) from the comfort of home to less-travelled paths in varied countries and cultures. The Jam TV series debuted in 2003 on TV One. With its authenticity and fresh, genre-changing take on a travel show (focusing on personal experience rather than objectivity), Intrepid Journeys was a landmark in local factual television. It managed to achieve the rare mix of high ratings and critical acclaim.
Peta Mathias, MNZM, has combined her love of travel and cuisine in a run of books and TV programmes. The former counsellor and singer won television's attention while promoting a book about being a chef in Paris. A regular food segment on 90s show Town and Country kick-started a series of programmes hosted or co-hosted by Mathias - including long stayer Taste New Zealand, and Qantas award-winner A Taste of Ireland.
Jane Andrews founded Jam TV with Melanie Rakena in 2002. The partnership has resulted in a run of award-winning shows that brought fresh energy to local factual programming. Jam shows Off the Rails, South and the long-running Intrepid Journeys achieved high ratings and critical acclaim. In 2010 the Andrews directed and produced Radar's Patch won a Qantas award for Best Information/Lifestyle Programme.
Melanie Rakena partnered with Jane Andrews in 2002 to create JAM TV, who specialise in popular factual television, much of it involving travel. JAM programmes such as Intrepid Journeys, Off The Rails and Global Radar have managed to achieve both popular and critical acclaim.