A magazine programme hosted by Kim Hill, with long-form, in-depth feature interviews on current affairs, science, modern life, history, the arts and more.
To most people Scrabble might seem a fun game to break out during the summer holidays, but for Alastair Richards it's serious business. Richards is the second New Zealand player to take the world's premier Scrabble title.
Arthur Brooks is a Harvard professor, social scientist, bestselling author, and the 'happiness correspondent' for The Atlantic. His weekly column, How To Build A Life helps point people towards creating more meaningful and fulfilling lives, and has spawned a spinoff podcast entitled How To Build A Happy Life.
The start of the 1920s was a traumatic time in New Zealand's history. Former chief of staff for the Prime Minister, Mike Munro brings together the story of an eagerly-anticipated rugby tour, and the troublesome memories of its time in his new book 1921: Rugby, Race and Empire - the result of hundreds of hours spent poring over newspapers from the time.
Writer and environmental advocate Tim Higham is trying to live, as he puts it from fish to fish in a house in the bush on Aotea Great Barrier Island. That's where we find him in his book Island Notes in which, Robinson Crusoe-like, Higham considers his sense of place while building a simpler life off-the-grid for his family.
As we head into the third year of the pandemic, a group of distinguished international scientists has published an opinion piece arguing that vaccine strategies need to shift focus from trying to stop infection, and move towards the prevention of severe disease and global equity in achieving high adult coverage. Professor Peter McIntyre from University of Otago is the lead author for the piece, and says New Zealand needs to get its objective straight as it heads into 2022.
Local food growers are increasingly employing beneficial insects as biocontrol agents to keep pests and diseases in check, meaning less reliance on pesticides. At Bioforce in Karaka, rural south Auckland, insects are bred and sent out to growers of everything from tomatoes and pot plants to chicken farms. More and more pests are turning up on our shores, making finding other insects - including natives - to combat them urgent work. Chris Thompson is general manager of Bioforce, a company his father founded 23 years ago.
British author and journalist Will Storr says we've been competing for status for millions of years, before we were even human. His new book The Status Game: On Social Position and How We Use It argues that trying to achieve status is a fundamental force in our behaviour, and a key to understanding human social life. The more status we earn, the better our chances of survival and reproduction. Storr's theory is that everyone is playing a status game, sometimes multiple games - even if you aren't aware of it. Storr's previous books include Selfie: How the West Became Self-Obsessed and The Science of Storytelling. His journalism work has appeared in the Guardian, Sunday Times, New Yorker and New York Times.
In the 1960s Mary Quant broke the mould of conventional fashion with her creative and playful designs that personified the energy of Swinging London. Famously credited for creating the mini skirt, Quant also popularised brightly coloured tights and tailored trousers - revolutionising the way women thought about dressing. A businesswoman as well as designer, Quant grew her brand so that it burst from her tiny boutique on King's Road, her clothing finding its way onto shelves of department stores across the UK, US, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. Heather TilburyPhillips was a director of Mary Quant Limited in the 1970s, and an advisor for the V&A exhibition Mary Quant: Fashion Revolutionary which is showing at Auckland Art Gallery until March.
Tens of thousands of Russian troops have been massing near the Ukrainian border sparking international concern of an impending invasion. With tensions mounting, US president Joe Biden has lent support to Ukraine and in a two-hour video call earlier this week he reportedly told Russian President Putin that the US and its European allies would "respond with strong economic measures" if Russia invades Ukraine. But will sanctions be enough to deter President Putin? Anton Troianovski is the Moscow correspondent for The New York Times, and joins the show to discuss.
Among the fascinating characters hovering around The Beatles in Peter Jackson's documentary Get Back is Michael Lindsay-Hogg, the director charged with making a film out of the band's rehearsals for 1970 album Let It Be.
In 2018, N.K. Jemisin became the first author to win the Hugo Award for Best Novel in three consecutive years, each award going to a book in her widely-heralded Broken Earth series. As a child the New York-based author was an avid reader of sci-fi and fantasy, but she rarely came across characters that looked like her.
When Swedish artist and mystic Hilma af Klint died in 1944, she left behind more than 1300 works, only seen by a handful of people. The discovery of her paintings decades later has turned art history on its head, and an exhibition of her work at The Guggenheim in New York was the most visited in the gallery's history.
Later this month the James Webb Space Telescope will be shot into space, and when it reaches its destination - approximately 1.5 million kilometres from Earth - the massive telescope will slowly unfurl to its full size. All going to plan, it will allow us to see further into the Universe than anything else ever built, succeeding the Hubble telescope which has been orbiting the Earth since 1990.
Oxford mathematician Marcus du Sautoy says humankind's laziness might just be its saving grace. Despite being frowned upon, du Sautoy says our inherent reluctance for hard work can often lead us to think of clever ways to solve problems.
A strain of Hindu nationalism, Hindutva, has grown in global prominence since 2014 under Indian prime minister Narendra Modi's BJP party. Now tensions are rising in the Indian community, both here and internationally, between those supporting Hindutva, and those concerned it promotes racism and Islamophobia.
When Scott Guy was shot dead at the gate of his family farm in Feilding 11 years ago, and his brother-in-law was charged with his murder (later acquitted), six of Jo Guy's grandchildren were made fatherless. In the care of those grandchildren Jo Guy came to see how many more children are in the same boat. Now grandmother to 14 tamariki, Guy's insight and own experience of surviving and thriving has now been told through a children's book she has written, illustrated by Paul Cornwell, The Search for the Lighthouse People.
It's only small, but as a city Whanganui is rich in design. This month the city was announced as New Zealand's only UNESCO City of Design, one of 40 such cities worldwide. Hamish McDouall has been Whanganui mayor since 2016 and vice president of Local Government New Zealand since July 2020, representing the provincial sector.
How viable is hydrogen as a major power alternative? Is it the key to a lower carbon economy and this country being more energy self-sufficient? Christopher Boyle believes so. He's the co-founder and CEO of AFCryo, a Christchurch-based company working in cryogenics - extreme cooling technology, which they're exporting internationally. They're providing superconducting technology for electric aircraft in the UK (set to take to the air late 2022), and developed a prototype hydrogen-fuelled chase boat for Emirates Team NZ. In May AFCryo unveiled what they bill as a revolutionary green hydrogen production system, in partnership with UK company Clean Power Hydrogen.
She's a bestselling, prizewinning author with her own bookshop in native Nashville, Tennessee, but in her new collection of essays This Precious Life Ann Patchett reveals that below the surface of any charmed life there are darker undercurrents.
When the Taliban took over Kabul, Afghanistan in August, Nowroz Ali feared for his life. A wanted man for many years for his work with the New Zealand Defence Force, he was supposed to be on a Hercules sent to evacuate people, but such was the pandemonium he couldn't get to the plane. Ali is finally here, staying in an Auckland hotel awaiting resettlement. Two of his sisters and a brother have also made it, while his parents and other siblings have been left behind.
Preeminent literary magazine Sport was founded by writers Damien Wilkins, Elizabeth Knox, Nigel Cox and their Victoria University Press (VUP) publisher Fergus Barrowman in 1988. Sport folded in 2020 as the pandemic hit and VUP have now published an anthology of the magazine's latter years, A Game of Two Halves: The Best of Sport 2005-2019, edited by Barrowman.
Sophie Roberts is working on an ambitious Silo commission called Break Bread which broadcasts the rambunctious hidden lives of all of us. Working under the constraints of the pandemic, the production looks to move beyond traditional black box theatre and into the digital sphere while retaining the shared, immersive characteristics of live theatre.
All this week RNZ has been celebrating 100 years of broadcasting in New Zealand, the first broadcast having been made on the 17th of November 1921 by Professor Robert Jack from Otago University's physics department. But what of radio's future? James Cridland is a self-dubbed radio futurologist and consultant with radio stations based in Brisbane.
Groundbreaking new research at the Malaghan Institute in Wellington has found that immune cells in the skin behave differently than their counterparts found elsewhere in the body, suggesting they play a much bigger role in the onset of allergies than originally thought.
When Christchurch's Hagley Park was created in the late 19th century native plants such as ferns, cabbage trees and flax were replaced by English plants like beech, elm and oak. As part of the Scape Public Art Season 2021, Dunedin artist Aroha Novak is presenting The Native Section, nine hand-embroidered billboards surrounding the park.
The origin of Covid-19 still remains a mystery that may never be solved. Was it the result of a spillover from animals to humans, or the result of a lab leak? The idea that the SARS-CoV-2 virus could have accidentally escaped from the Wuhan Institute of Virology in China has been widely condemned as a conspiracy theory fuelled by anti-Chinese sentiment. But some people insist lab leak is a plausible theory, and one of them is Canadian molecular biologist Dr Alina Chan. She's a gene-therapy specialist at the Broad Institute of MIT at Harvard, and has co-authored a book with popular science writer Matt Ridley, Viral: The Search for the Origin of Covid-19.
American teenager Kyle Rittenhouse, who killed two men and wounded another during protests against police brutality and riots in Kenosha, Wisconsin in August 2020, has been acquitted of all charges in court in New York. Simon Marks reports from Washington.
Ayukawa is a remote village that sits on the southern tip of the Oshika Peninsula in northeastern Japan. Once a prominent whaling town, the decline in demand for whale meat coupled with the devastating impact of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami has seen work dry up and the town's population steadily decline. Five years in the making, Ayukawa: The Weight of a Life was co-directed by London-based filmmaker Tu Rapana Neill and his former tutor Jim Speers from Elam School of Fine Arts.
Thousands of protesters marched on Parliament earlier this week with a mixture of motives on display. Journalist and filmmaker David Farrier has spent the last few years diving down conspiracy theory rabbit holes - from QAnon to anti-vax chaos - and writing about them for his online newsletter Webworm. He joins the show to discuss what protests like these signify and where it's all going.
Alexander Turnbull spent the greater part of his life - and his inheritance - growing his library, acquiring books, manuscripts, sketches and other materials relating to life in New Zealand. Published to mark 100 years since the establishment of the library, Tu Kupenga celebrates the history of Aotearoa New Zealand through 101 fascinating objects within its collection. Co-author and chief librarian Chris Szekely shares some of these objects and their stories.
Never shy of dealing with controversy, Luit Bieringa has often tackled complex and flawed New Zealand cultural figures in his films. In his new film, Signed, Theo Schoon, Bieringa turns his attention to another problematic trailblazer.
Otaki-based playwright Renée has many feathers in her cap, having written numerous plays and nine fiction novels - the latest being her first venture into crime writing, The Wild Card, which she published in 2018 at age 90. Renée, who received the Prime Minister's Award for Literary Achievement that same year, credits her mother Rose with her lifelong love affair with the written word. Now aged 92, Renée is delivering the annual panui for Read NZ at the National Library on Wednesday 10 November.