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Kim reads listener feedback from the show.
Acclaimed war photographer Bruce Connew has turned his lens on to our country's colonial memorials to document "a vocabulary of colonisation". His exhibition A Vocabulary at Te Uru Gallery in Titirangi, Auckland features 79 images of memorials and gravestones dating from 1863 through to 2015, and runs until February 14th. The exhibition also acts as a preview for a book of the same name due out in February featuring many more photographs.
Each week retired polytechnic lecturer Sandra Kyle visits two local meatworks to conduct (usually solitary) vigils for animals on their way to slaughter. A committed vegan and local representative of the international Animal Save Movement, she 'bears witness' as animal trucks arrive and tries to provide some comfort to the animals by making eye contact with them and by singing, playing music, and reciting mantras. Her objective is to close down all animal slaughterhouses in New Zealand by the year 2025; these aims are outlined in her self-published book Glass Walls.
Dr. Andrea Clavijo McCormick of Massey University in Palmerston North recently secured $300,000 in funding from the Royal Society Te Aparangi annual Marsden Fund to study how plants communicate. And the kind of communication she is interested in isn't just the language of chemicals and colours they use to attract pollinators. Her research also looks at how different plants can communicate with each other. She's finding that invasive plants like heather and Scotch Broom can suppress communication by local plants.
Vigil, The Navigator, Map of the Human Heart, What Dreams May Come, River Queen, Rain of the Children - New Zealander Vincent Ward has a diverse and impressive directing résumé. He's also an accomplished scriptwriter and painter and was awarded a New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to film in 2007. In October he started filming in Ukraine on his latest film Storm School, with more filming planned in China, UK and Australia in 2021. The film is based on a script co-written by Ward and long time collaborator Louis Nowra and tells the story of two dinghy sailors, who overcome adversity to win gold medals at the London 2012 Olympics. Filming in Ukraine is focussed on the harsh childhood of one of the central characters; so-called "medal maker" and one of the world's greatest sailing coaches, Victor Kovalenko, who guided Australian sailors to six gold medals.
After the year that 2020 has been, how can you improve your family reunions this Christmas? The author of The Art of Gathering, and host of popular podcast Together Apart, conflict mediator Priya Parker is an authority on the art of engineering more meaningful social gatherings. And with many of us only able to connect with our nearest and dearest overseas via Zoom thanks to the pandemic, what can you do to make these interactions even more significant for all of those involved?
Cambridge University consultant clinical virologist Dr Chris Smith's regular conversations about the science of the coronavirus pandemic have been a feature of the show this year. So what has surprised him the most about Covid-19, and what are some of the questions we are still trying to find answers to? Meanwhile with the UK now more than a week into its mass vaccination programme, we ask him what the main challenges have been, and what we can learn from it here in NZ.
Shepherd James Rebanks tends a flock of Herdwick sheep on a family-owned farm in the Lake District in northern England. He learned traditional farming ways from his grandfather; a man with a profound connection with his land. An OE in Australia introduced Rebanks to industrial farming practices, which he applied to his own farm in the 1990s. After a while he realised that he was in fact damaging the land, soil and local wildlife. So he started the laborious process of restoring features like hedgerows, pastures, meadows, and dry stone walls- and hasn't looked back. He's now a self declared 'old fashioned farmer' Following the success of his first book The Shepherd's Life, Rebanks' new one is called English Pastoral: An Inheritance.
During the 1940s and 50s the US detonated 67 nuclear bombs on, in and above the Marshall Islands as part of its Cold War nuclear testing programme. The Marshall Islands are two chains of 29 coral atolls in the middle of the Pacific Ocean between Papua New Guinea and Hawaii. At the time, whole islands ceased to exist, hundreds of native Marshallese had to be relocated off their home islands and many were affected by fallout from the testing. The Marshallese continue to campaign for adequate compensation from the U.S. Runit Dome, on Enewetak Atoll, houses 88,000 square metres of contaminated soil and debris, and has recently received media attention due to cracking and the threat from rising sea levels. Giff Johnson is the editor of The Marshall Islands Journal, correspondent for Radio New Zealand and runs the facebook page "Marshall Islands Nuclear News". He's experienced the unfolding legacy of US nuclear testing in the Marshall Islands first hand. His wife Darlene Keju, an outspoken advocate for test victims and nuclear survivors, herself died of cancer in 1996. Johnson has written a book about her called Don't Ever Whisper
Listener feedback for Saturday Morning for 12 December 2020.
Poet and writer Kate Camp returns to discuss a historic work of classic literature - this week it's Orlando King by Isabel Colgate. Written in 1968, the novel follows a charismatic young man trying to make his way in politics in inter-war London. It's been described as bildungsroman, Greek tragedy and political saga all rolled into one. Kate Camp's latest poetry collection is called How to Be Happy Though Human: New and Selected Poems (Victoria University Press).
Northland-based soul singer TEEKS aka Te Karehana Gardiner-Toi (Ngapuhi, Ngai Te Rangi, Ngati Ranginui) seems on the expressway to success. His 2017 debut EP The Grapefruit Skies was met with critical acclaim. This year American fashion and lifestyle magazine Vogue branded him as one of the music industry's "most promising talents". He's currently on a sold out tour of New Zealand and his first full length album Something To Feel, is dropping in February.
100 year old Benjamin Ferencz is a lawyer, writer, thinker and pacifist who investigated Nazi war crimes after the Second World War, and is the last surviving prosecutor from the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials. He was chief prosecutor for the US Army at the Einsatzgruppen Trial, one of the 12 military trials held by the U.S. authorities at Nuremberg in Germany from November 1945 to October 1946. He later became an advocate for the establishment of an International Criminal Court to make war criminals accountable for their actions. In his book Parting Words: 9 Lessons for a Remarkable Life he shares his extraordinary life story and some of the things he has learned along the way. He was also the subject of the 2018 documentary "Prosecuting Evil".
"Quardle oodle ardle wardle doodle" - many New Zealanders know Denis Glover as the author of the iconic poem "The Magpies". The late poet, printer and publisher also left behind a tarnished personal legacy, of womanising, drinking and a chaotic private life. Sarah Shieff is hoping to widen our understanding of Glover beyond his flaws to include his wit, gift for friendship, and his bravery. She's spent over 7 years reviewing thousands of his letters and has selected a few hundred to tell his story in a soon to be released collection Letters of Denis Glover. Sarah Shieff is an Associate Professor at the University of Waikato and for a decade edited the Journal of New Zealand Literature. Her previous books including Talking Music: Conversations with New Zealand musicians and Letters of Frank Sargeson.
Molecular virologist Arvind Varsani and evolutionary virologist Simona Kraberger are expat New Zealanders working at Arizona State University. During the coronavirus pandemic they've been using genetic tracing techniques to test wastewater to show community spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Using wastewater samples collected across 10 US states, they have detected variants of the disease that have been missed through conventional clinical testing. They think this is due to high rates of asymptomatic spread (infected individuals showing little to no symptoms who still spread the virus). Their work is also revealing valuable information about when, where and how the disease spreads between different locations. Here in New Zealand The Institute of Environmental Science and Research (ESR) is currently conducting a two month trial sampling wastewater from places with and without managed isolation facilities nearby.
For the past 7 years radiation specialist Lucas Hixson has been working at the abandoned Chernobyl nuclear reactors in Ukraine. In 1986 an accident at the former Soviet nuclear plant killed 31 people immediately, and thousands more from the health impacts of long term radiation exposure. When Hixson first arrived there he was struck by the sight of hundreds of stray dogs that the other workers were feeding. These dogs, living in harsh conditions and preyed upon by wolves, are the offspring of pets abandoned when people were evacuated from the area. Hixson now does his best to feed and care for them; through his adoption and sterilisation efforts he has reduced the total dog population living there from 1,000 to about 500, and he does popular online tours giving people around the world a glimpse inside his work.
Kim Hill reads listener feedback for Saturday Morning for 5 December 2020.
Penguin expert and Antarctic explorer Lloyd Spencer Davis blends natural history, evolutionary biology and stories of adventure in his new book A Polar Affair: Antarctica's Forgotten Hero and the Secret Love Lives of Penguins. The 'forgotten hero' of the title is George Levick, the doctor on Robert Falcon Scott's tragic Antarctic expedition of 1910. Levick became an enthusiastic observer of penguins while he was marooned down South over an Antarctic winter. But the practices he saw there were so depraved, and the couplings so sordid, they were suppressed and sanitised for a Victorian audience. Lloyd Spencer Davis' previous books include Penguin: A Season in the Life of the Adelie Penguin for which he received the PEN (NZ) Best First Book Award for Nonfiction. He is also the author of Looking For Darwin, which won the CLL Writer's Award.
Dr Alyce Swinbourne is a wombat specialist based at the School of Animal and Veterinary Sciences at the University of Adelaide. She says the animals use their amazing armoured backsides (made up of four hard plates) as a weapon, and to defend their burrows against predators. We'll ask her more about this often overlooked peril of the Outback, and how she became fascinated by these multifaceted marsupials. Alyce Swinbourne and a wombat.
Judith Jones is an expert audio describer, providing verbal descriptions of museum exhibitions and stage performances to people who are blind or with low vision. She works as a host at The Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa in Wellington offering 'sensory tours', and also with local dance companies and theatres. In recognition of her work she received an Arts Access Aotearoa Accolade in October.
Cognitive neuroscientist Dr David Moreau has been recognised by the Royal Society Te Aparangi Te Kōpūnui with the Early Career Research Excellence Award for Social Sciences. Moreau is a lecturer in the School of Psychology at the University of Auckland, and leads its Brain Dynamics Lab. The award recognises his research into the benefits of high-intensity exercise on the brain. Although the benefits of exercise on the brain and the body are well documented, this was thought to rely on prolonged aerobic exercise. His work is showing that similar benefits can be achieved by short bursts of intense activity lasting no more than a few minutes. The findings could be important to schools, workplaces, disadvantaged communities and in rest homes, where opportunities to exercise may be limited.
Scottish writer Douglas Stuart recently won the 2020 Booker Prize for his debut novel Shuggie Bain. Before its success, the book was rejected more than 30 times by various publishers. Set in 1980s Glasgow, it's a gritty story of a son's troubled relationship with his alcoholic mother, and is loosely based on Stuart's own experiences growing up in the city. Based in New York City for the past 20 years, where he designed knitwear for some of the biggest names in fashion, Stuart has now given up his day job to focus on his writing full time. And he's not resting on his laurels: after having several short stories published in The New Yorker, Stuart has already finished a second novel (titled Loch Awe) and is hard at work on a third, about the demise of the textile industry.
Australia is not well known for casting envious glances across the Tasman. But what can 'the lucky country' learn from us? Laura Tingle is a senior political journalist with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and the author of Chasing the Future: Recession, Recovery and the New Politics in Australia. An acclaimed essayist, she's just written a new longform article called The High Road: What Australia Can Learn From New Zealand. You can read an extract here. In it she considers the current state of the trans-Tasman relationship and compares and contrasts the two countries' attitudes towards government, the economy, our colonial past, and the current pandemic.
Saliva-based Covid-19 tests could have many advantages over current nasal swabs; being potentially cheaper, quicker, easier, and safer for health workers. Recently returned expat New Zealander Dr Anne Wyllie is a medical microbiologist usually based at the Yale School of Public Health in New Haven, Connecticut. She and her colleagues have been working on SalivaDirect, a saliva-based PCR test that got US FDA emergency use authorization in August and has been attracting interest from around the world (including the NBA). Wyllie has been interested in the role of saliva as a diagnostic tool for the past decade: before the pandemic her research focussed on detecting bacteria linked with pneumonia, but the coronavirus has shifted priorities.
Kim reads listener feedback from the show.
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Podcast Details

Created by
Podcast Status
Feb 22nd, 2019
Latest Episode
Dec 19th, 2020
Release Period
Avg. Episode Length
25 minutes

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