"Let me explain," David Icke said, "and it's the last f****** time that I will."
We were sitting in the lobby of the Crowne Plaza Hotel. Mr Icke was perched on an armchair in a corner we'd found, wearing a white mullet and sensible windbreaker. His tired eyes darted between me and the steady flow of guests around us.
At that moment, I didn't realise how lucky I was to be interviewing the world's foremost conspiracy theorist.
Early the next morning, Mr Icke was destined to arrive at TV3 for a planned appearance on Paul Henry, only to have his hair blow-dried in the makeup department and then leave the building prematurely and without explanation.
But at the Crowne Plaza he made no such escape.
We'd been talking for more than an hour, and I'd just raised the subject that still haunts him when he comes Down Under to give seminars: the fact that, during a spiritual epiphany almost 20 years ago, he proclaimed New Zealand would "disappear".
After a rocky start and a smooth middle, our interview was threatening to unhinge again.
"I was minding my own business," he began. "This was in 1989. I was a TV presenter and a Green Party spokesperson. And I started to get this feeling, when I was alone in a room - I got this feeling I wasn't alone."
Arthritis stopped a professional football career in his early 20s, but by the age of 38 Mr Icke was a household name in Britain as a BBC sports broadcaster.
He then experienced what could either be described as a profound spiritual awakening, or a very public meltdown.
A series of psychic impulses led him to a clairvoyant and energy healer, who revealed his life's purpose.
"I was told I was going to go out on the world stage and reveal secrets. There was a veil that had to be lifted."
Mr Icke held a press conference with his wife and daughter to declare he was "the son of the Godhead", and the world would end in 1997 - preceded by hurricanes, earthquakes and the disappearance of Aotearoa.
The revelations led to an infamous appearance on a primetime BBC show. An audience of 17 million people watched as Mr Icke sat down in a turquoise shell suit for a painful interview, dubbed a "media crucifixion".
Mr Icke described it as a period of "fantastic ridicule".
After his time with the psychic, he'd followed a further impulse to Peru, where, standing near an ancient Incan ruin, a powerful energy took hold of his body.
It subsided when a curtain of rain from the distant mountains raced over him.
This massive download of universal information proved too much at first.
"I was like a computer that had frozen," he said of his ensuing predictions, which he now accepts were misguided.
"I didn't know what was going on. But in a matter of days, the computer started unfreezing."
Despite being laughed at wherever he went in public, Mr Icke stuck at it. He began to write, and for the past few decades he's garnered an international following, publishing more than 20 books (including The Perception Deception... Or, it's ALL Bollocks - Yes, ALL of it).
He also tours the world giving sell-out shows.
He's come a long way since the 90s, when he travelled across the US appearing to small handfuls of people like a fluorescent UFO.
The 64-year-old's show at the Logan Campbell Centre in Auckland today, part of his World Wide Wakeup Tour, is a 12-hour seminar.
The audience will be told things are not as they seem, that we are living in a virtual reality manufactured by dark entities that leech off negative human emotions.
"I use the concept of the rabbit hole," he explained. "I start outside the rabbit hole and I point out the program - the postage stamp consensus of normal.
"All I'm doing is I'm hearing the official story, and saying, 'Ok, let's see if it stands up'."
At the heart of his ideas is the "Reptoid Hypothesis" - a theory that people of influence, including the Queen and singer-songwriter Kris Kristofferson, are shape-shifting reptilian hybrids, secretly ushering humankind toward a global fascist state.
The ultimate goal of the Reptoids is "centralised global control - of all resources, of all businesses, of all everything".
Thanks to Mr Icke's popularisation of this theory, public figures are often asked whether they are lizards.
John Key made international headlines two years ago by declaring to media, "I'm not a reptile" after an Auckland man put in an Official Information Act request asking for proof he might be one.
The first thing I asked Mr Icke was whether or not Key could have been lying; I wanted to settle it. His answer, to my dismay, was "How the f*ck would I know?".
"The depth of the rabbit hole goes beyond the John Keys, the Barack Obamas, the David Camerons... the puppets and gofers of the game."
He says war and terrorism are tools used by the elite to centralise power and remove our personal freedoms.
"The plan is for a third world war between the US and Russia-China. [Hillary] Clinton is a woman of war. If she comes in we will have World War III. [Donald] Trump will do the same, because he's clueless."
I must admit that at this point, I was totally on-board.
Both Ms Clinton and Mr Trump are backed by "billionaire Zionist oligarchs," he continued.
"Countries like New Zealand are gonna be eaten alive by the global system, once they commit to coming under its rules."
According to Mr Icke, the European Union is a pawn of this burgeoning world government, and he's elated Britain has left it.
And he says climate change - which he refers to as "the global warming hoax" - is a conspiracy engineered by the very people who want the world to continue using fossil fuels, in order to justify "the transformation of global society".
"But if you are exposing this hidden hand," I said, jumping in while he caught his breath, "Why haven't you been struck down?"
"Maybe there are other forces at work that mean that won't happen," he replied. "But I've known many people over the years who aren't around anymore."
I later wondered whether my question contributed to his flight from the Paul Henry green room.
So why do these inter-dimensional entities get such a kick out of enslaving humanity? What is the rationale?
"What would be the rationale of a psychopath?" he shot back. "It's a disease. These are not rational, balanced people."
As our meeting came to an end, I wanted to question him further about the divine forces he'd hinted were aiding him in his truth campaign, but I didn't really get a chance.
He talked at me without pause for an hour and a half. He was a great talker. But he seemed extremely agitated.
Maybe it was doing his head in, the chore of speaking to yet another cog in the mainstream media, which was "reaching extraordinary levels of denial and schizophrenia".
He was, he mentioned, still recovering from an interview with a "child" from another New Zealand media organisation.
But he had noticed an "unbelievable transformation" in recent years - people, even journalists, were more open to his ideas. His audiences were made up of all ages and creeds.
"I've been doing this for 26 years," he said. "These ideas didn't come out of the fricking ether.
"I'm not doing it because I like the sound of my own voice, and I'm certainly not doing it because I like to stand up for 10 hours."