The Bachelor NZ season 3: Episode 1 recap

Emotional music swells and a beautiful man flirts with danger, walking barefoot along an Auckland beach. It can mean only one thing - the time has come for the third season of The Bachelor NZ.

It is upon us.

The first episode of the third season was everything a fan could have hoped for and more. Bachelor Zac Franich kicked things off in double denim worthy of a school mufti-day theme.

The early footage of the 28-year-old Surf Life Saving coach kayaking and surfing might have been objectification of his perfect body, but it was justified because he competes in water sports, okay guys?

Before long, poor host Dominic Bowden cut in with a seamless segue to introduce the bachelorettes. I say poor because coming on screen after a slow-motion, back-lit shot of Zac is the TV equivalent of having an Instagram photo with your 10 friend when you're a six with a filter and good lighting. 

Zac Franich and Dominic Bowden outside the mansion
This year's dynamic duo of Zac and host Dominic Bowden (Supplied)

The girls this year have a sporty bent, with 22-year-old Viarni stripping down to her togs and diving into the waters of Mount Maunganui, and 20-year-old Lily throwing a shaka on her skateboard, because she's wild, I guess.

The worst part of the episode for me was meeting 25-year-old Bel from Christchurch, who describes herself as a "homebody". Bel's cat is cute, and I'm sure there was some interview context to her weird song about loving to bake. Maybe. But the only thing I could concentrate on was - who the heck puts Olivani in a cake?

As Zac asserted his position outside the mansion, the girls were dropped to him one-by-one.

Zac and Viarne meet outside the mansion
Viarne has become a hot favourite straight off the bat (Supplied)

A highlight of these introductions is always when the girls give little gifts. Harry Potter-loving Nina gave a golden ticket, I guess as a means of getting into her chocolate factory or whatever. Stephanie actually bought chocolates, like she was visiting her Nan. It was cute. 

But the absolute killer was 23-year-old Edge fan fave Jess. The English beauty carried up a small china cup of tea, "a little novelty" to help stand out from the crowd. Novelty, novel tea. 

Jess and Zac meet outside the mansion
The comedic genius of Jess knew no boundaries (Supplied)

Zac lost it. We lost it. Will someone get this girl her own show?

We were then given our first taste of crazy for the season as 24-year-old Charlotte asked to redo her introduction. Three times. One can only assume she thought it would be cut down for the episode. It wasn't.

After the third awkward hug, Zac was staring panic-stricken directly down the barrel of the camera.  

After meeting all 19 women, Zac must have needed a drink. I sure did. The girls certainly did, judging by the empty glasses of Lindauer scattered around inside the mansion.

As they gathered in the garden, Bowden dropped the bomb we've had hinted to us for months.

"This year, not all roses are created equal."

"What does the white rose mean?" we all screamed at our televisions. Taylar and her crazy eyes thought it might be for "the most pure girl". We can only hope, as that would be fantastic viewing.  

Zac holding a white rose surrounded by women at the cocktail party
Mystery surrounds the white rose - what power does it carry? (Supplied)

Viarni was the first girl to be pulled away for a private Zac chat, triggering the others to whoop and yell things like, "Yeah V! Go girl!"

It was as if they were friends at a high school ball, not women all competing to find love with the same man.

As Zac and Viarni discussed their love of the beach, they were unaware of the power struggle emerging back in the courtyard as the girls - mainly Taylar - discussed the merits of interrupting. 

The episode ended with a cliff-hanger and several unanswered questions. Will Taylar interrupt Viarni and Zac? What power does the white rose carry? Will Bel cook the girls a low-cholesterol tan square?

We don't have to wait a week to find out; episode two screens on Monday at 7:30pm on Three.


Watch the first episode again on ThreeNow