A TV presenter from Denbighshire was tricked into believing he’d struck gold while on an adventure in New Zealand.

Alun Williams, who hails from Rhuddlan and is a former pupil of Ysgol Glan Clwyd in St Asaph, was panning for gold in the River Arrow near Queenstown during the filming for the new S4C series, Alun, Chris a Kiri yn Seland Newydd (Alun, Chris and Kiri in New Zealand).

Alun, also one of the co-presenters on Heno, Prynhawn Da and Bore Da, was pranked by the TV chef Chris Roberts, from Caernarfon, who was also on the trip, along with award winning stand-up comedian Kiri Pritchard-McLean, who comes from Anglesey.

The three-part series, made by independent Caernarfon-based television production company Cwmni Da, is being shown at 9pm on Wednesdays, with the final episode being aired on May 1.


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The trio’s trip began in South Island and they drove the entire length of the country  to Auckland in a white 4X4 vehicle.

Enroute, they sampled the beer at Speights, New Zealand’s oldest brewery, and cycled up Baldwin Street in Dunedin, which has pipped  Ffordd Pen Llech in Harlech to be crowned as the steepest street in the world.

The trio had arranged various challenges and after hearing the Queenstown founder William Rees had made his fortune after discovering gold in a nearby river, Alun thought it appropriate to have a go.

"The river Arrow is named after a river in Powys and anyone panning for gold in the river is guaranteed to find some," said Alun, who now lives in Cardiff.

They linked up with Justin Eden, who has been panning for gold for more than 40 years, and he showed them how to sift through the silt for the precious metal.

He added: "Soon, Justin pointed out the tiny flecks of gold in the pan that were worth about 10 dollars (about £4.70) so we decided to have a little competition to see who could find the most.

"I chose a spot away from the others and in a few minutes I found what looked like a large nugget of gold.

“Justin confirmed it was gold and worth $2,000, which is about £950, But unbeknown to me Chris had asked Justin to plant the nugget in the pan so I would find it. Oh, the disappointment!”

Since their return from New Zealand, the trio have kept in touch and got together at Cellb in Blaenau Ffestiniog.

The former police station has been turned into a cinema, cafe and performing space and is the centre of many youth activities in the quarrying town.

Chris showed off his cooking skills making pizzas with some of the youngsters while Kiri hosted a session for would be stand-up comics and Alun led a media workshop.