Adventurer and wild man Bear Grylls, in New Zealand filming an episode of his television series, has paid tribute to the Kiwi spirit in the wake of the Christchurch quake.

“It’s been a real privilege to be in New Zealand at this time and stand alongside you guys and everything you guys are going through as a nation,” he said at a press conference this morning.

“I kind of think when terrible things happen it brings people together and if there’s one thing I’ve learned about New Zealanders is that you’re tough and you’re resilent and you will come back – that’s why you’re so damn good at rugby.”

The 36-year-old English television presenter and his team were in mountains about 240km southwest of Christchurch when they were shaken by the tremor on February 22.