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Quiz master shares his secrets to running the country’s largest trivia night

Fred Wilkie

Attracting numbers can be difficult however one man has cracked the code to trivial success.

Quiz master Eddie Kerrigan
Quiz master Eddie Freddie Wilkie

Quizzing is a popular activity across many New Zealand pubs and bars, however attracting numbers can be difficult, but one man has cracked the code to trivial success.

Meet Eddie Kerrigan, he is the general manager of the Papanui Club. His roles include operating the gym, overseeing health and safety and running the weekly Tuesday night quiz. The free event runs from seven to nine thirty with 120 questions and a lottery draw at the end to divvy out spot prizes.

Eddie said the success of the quiz was due to several reasons.

“The venue we have has the right facilities and a big enough space to make people comfortable. Also, the people who come are not troublemakers and are just here for a good time.”

Most importantly he notes the people who run it have got to fit in.

“I’m a bit of a personality and there’s plenty of banter going on. It’s the personal thing that the people like.”

Quiz master Eddie is at home on the mic
Quiz master Eddie is at home on the mic Freddie Wilkie

Eddie says it's not as hard to run a quiz as you would think.

“It’s just like most things, there are a few skills to learn but you have to be good with the microphone and interacting with clients.”

The package is put together by Sky TV which is adopted in bars across the nation. They offer five different collections for each week night. Sky’s Believe It or Not service includes a streamlined digital presentation with audio and video. They also include booklets and material needed for participants as well as support for organisers.

The bundle is adopted in over 350 venues with Eddie’s being the biggest. Team numbers often reach the high twenties with some nights attracting over 30 groups. Eddie inherited the job from the former manager back in 2017.

“I was one of the few staff comfortable with talking on the mic," he says.

The night has eight rounds covering topics like geography, music and sports. Participants select two rounds they are strongest in for double points.

As well as the base rounds there is a ponderous puzzle which has clues getting progressively easier through the night. At half time the list is done where teams write down 10 items relating to the category, taking care to write their most confident answers first. Once they get one wrong the chain breaks and they stop scoring points.

Quiz booklet
Quiz booklets Freddie Wilkie

At the Papanui a $100 bar tab is awarded for first place. A bottle of wine goes to the team that finishes in the middle of the pack. More wine, meat packs and a $40 bar tab goes to teams who have their group number pulled from the hat.

As well as being successful in numbers it also brings big revenue for the club.

“As it stands now our average amount of teams is up to 26/27 which pretty much guarantees 120 people every week," Eddie says.

"Sometimes we have team numbers in the thirties which guarantees roughly 180 people. If you add up the amount they spend in food and drink, you easily out weigh the cost of the package and prizes.”

Eddie leaves with a simple message: “It's good fun, so what are you waiting for?”