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.
The world of tabletop roleplaying games such as Dungeons and Dragons has been shaken by a major fracas in its community. Tabletop gaming has experienced a major rise in popularity in recent years, thanks partly to TV shows such as Stranger Things and The Big Bang Theory. But proposed licensing changes by D&D publisher Hasbro put that at risk as fans swore off the game and threatened to boycott upcoming movies. Elsewhere the industry is facing problems of inclusivity. Morgan Davie, a Wellington tabletop enthusiast and gaming developer and author gives us the lowdown on what's going on.
An out-of-the-blue email claiming to be from a relative inspired funky blues artist Fantastic Negrito's acclaimed album White Jesus Black Problems. It saw him follow his family tree back seven generations to Elizabeth Gallimore, an indentured servant from Scotland, who was charged in Virginia, 1759 with unlawfully cohabitating with a Negro slave. Also known for his work as activist and urban farmer, Xavier Dphrepaulezz grew up in an orthodox Muslim household in Oakland. A near-fatal car accident in the 1990s derailed his pop music career but he reinvented himself as Fantastic Negrito, going on to win the first NPR Tiny Desk Contest in 2015 and a Grammy for Contemporary Blues Album in 2017. Fantastic Negrito performs at WOMAD in New Plymouth Sunday 19 March.
Auckland Zoo's centenary is being marked by an exhibition and a book, 100 Years, 100 Stories, revealing how much the zoo's role has changed over that time. Last year the zoo also opened their biggest development to date: the South East Asia Jungle Track, including a climate-controlled tropical dome, high canopy rainforest area and tropical swamp. Today the zoo also works as an advocate for conservation and to help many native species from extinction. But what will it look like in another 100 years? Director Kevin Buley has worked in the industry for nearly 25 years, including as head of zoo programmes at Chester Zoo, the UK's largest visitor attraction outside of London. He has been in roles at Auckland Zoo since 2010.
A professor in physics, psychology and art, Richard Taylor believes the bio-inspired technology he is developing with a team at the University of Oregon could one day lead to a bionic eye. Taylor is exploring how diseased regions of the retina can be replaced by fractal electronic implants, converting light into electrical signals. They have grown rodent retinal neurons on a fractal-patterned electrode, mimicking the repeating branching pattern in which neurons naturally grow. He has also used bioinspired fractal images to reduce people's stress levels. Known for his work across disciplines, he is also considered a leading expert on the artist Jackson Pollock, proving that his paint splatters are in fact fractals. Prof Taylor is giving a free public talk in Rotorua on the 8th of February, on the stress-reducing properties of fractals, as part of the 10th International Conference on Advanced Materials.
Sustainable growth was the focus of the recent World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos, but how realistic is this goal, and what would it look like? The idea of degrowth, as a counter to the status quo of aiming for exponential growth, has also been gaining popularity. Last year's IPCC report on mitigating climate change cited it for the first time, and the European Research Council has recently given NZ$15.5 million to degrowth academics to study 'post growth' policies. Professor Tim Jackson is a specialist in sustainable development at the University of Surrey, Director of the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity and on Air New Zealand's Sustainability Advisory Panel. His latest book is Post Growth - Life after Capitalism.
Most of us know the basic ideas on how to live a healthy life Eat well, get plenty of sleep and make sure to move your body. But life isn't so simple and often can throw obstacles in our way to a healthier and longer life. Dr Roderick Mulgan has been a medical professional for more than 30 years and believes the quality of our health particularly as we age is down to the lifestyle, with an emphasis on diet. He talks to Pelina about the science of healthy living
More than 3000 kilometres, 131 days, two brothers and one epic journey along the Great Wall of China. British Chinese siblings - James and Thomas Lindesay - spent 6 months running and walking along the main west to east length of the wall - starting in the desert all the way to where the structure meets the sea - near North Korea. They've been literally following in their father's footsteps - William Lindesay who made the same journey in 1987.
The psychadelic drug - ketamine will be used to treat alcohol addiction in a Phase 3 trial in the UK trial this year. Results from an earlier trial show 86 percent of participants stayed completely sober at their 6-month follow up. Perlina talks to Professor of Psycopharmacology Celia Morgan at the University of Exeter who is leading the trial.
It's a new year - which means, many of us have set new resolutions or perhaps money goals. It was a tough financial year for many - with rising mortgage rates, soaring food and petrol prices so how can you get the best out of your dollars this coming year. Perlina talks to Hannah McQueen is a financial adviser, chartered accountant and founder of personal finance coaching firm - Enable Me
Novelist and screen writer Fay Weldon died this week She had a 55-year long wiritng career, and is perhaps most know for her novel The Life and Loves of a She-Devil She was shortlisted for the Booker prize in 1978 for Praxis Perlina talks to Harry Ricketts is a poet, writer and professor who reflects on Weldon's legacy
A retired High School English teacher is proving to be a bit of a hit on social media. Jo Morris, also known as Jo the Write Coach has almost 14,000 followers on TikTok and some of her short videos offering tips on everything from grammar to writing tips have garnered hundreds of thousands of views. She talks to Perlina about her TikTok journey.
Writers Kate De Goldi and Laura Kroetsch join Kim Hill to share their favourite books of the year. From a tour of sea creatures to a novel with four versions of the same story, and a history of bodily freedoms, their picks offer eclectic and electric reading options for the summer.
Wellington's Otari-Wilton's Bush is the only botanic garden dedicated solely to the collection and conservation of plants unique to Aotearoa. For writer and historian Bee Dawson it's a place of stories - of both national botanical heroes and local community.
If you're feeling frazzled with the festive season, then you might want to take a leaf out of Brigid Delaney's new book. The author and senior writer for Guardian Australia says she spent years living a chaotic lifestyle but in 2018 turned her attention to Stoicism, an ancient philosophy which promotes the idea that we shouldn't unnecessarily worry about things outside our control. Drawing on age-old schools of thought, Delaney's book Reasons Not to Worry, How to be Stoic in Chaotic Times offers practical tips for everything from beating FOMO, dealing with pandemic pandemonium and finding inner calm.
When we think about the origins of Santa Claus most of us envision Saint Nicholas, Sinterklaas and maybe Coca-Cola. Adventurer, writer and mycologist Lawrence Millman sees a large red and white psychedelic 'amanita muscaria' mushroom.
Recreating nuclear fusion - the reaction that powers stars including our sun - is seen as the holy grail of energy technology, holding potential to create a near-unlimited source of safe clean energy. This week, scientists at California's Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory made a huge breakthrough.
In November 2019 a BBC interview with Prince Andrew sent shockwaves around the world. This was one of many exclusive interviews secured by "booker extraordinaire" Sam McAlister, a former producer on the BBC's Newsnight programme, who also convinced Elon Musk, Sheryl Sandberg and Stormy Daniels to sit in the hot seat. She has now released a book: Scoops: Behind the Scenes of the BBC's Most Shocking Interviews.
In the play-within-a-play which is Thomas Sainsbury and Chris Parker's The Opening Night Before Christmas, the Levin Community Players are presenting the town's annual Christmas pageant. It's currently being produced up the road at Palmerston North's Centrepoint Theatre, with real-life Centrepoint general manager and artistic director Kate Louise Elliot playing the writer and director of Levin's show. Elliot knows all about the comedy and tragedy of theatre.
Stonehenge discoveries have been numerous in recent years, with new techniques allowing us to learn more about a monument so ancient there are no records to explain why or how it was created. A leader in this research is archaeology professor Mike Parker Pearson.
If you had told people 150 years ago how well off the world would become, they would have anticipated paradise. So why do things feel so broken? A former advisor to President Clinton and a professor of economic history at Berkeley, Brad DeLong's magnum opus Slouching Towards Utopia is a big 150 year history of the creation of the modern world.
In 1990, writes Sir Hugh Rennie in Chathams Resurgent: How the Islanders overcame 150 years of misrule, the islanders had lived with "years of muddlement, some good intentions, financial waste, exploitation and theft and failure to deliver democratic rights and basic infrastructure."
It's a film some people say is like watching paint dry, whilst others say it will change your life. And it's the film that this month 1600 film critics and academics voted the greatest film of all time, knocking Vertigo from the top slot. 1975's Jeanne Dielman, 23 Commerce Quay, 1080 Brussels, by Belgian filmmaker Chantal Akerman is a three hour and 21 minute long film following the daily routine of a widow, whose chores include making the beds, cooking dinner, and turning the occasional trick. Otago University Professor in Film and Media Catherine Fowler has been studying the film for 30 years and this year published a study of the film for the British FiIm Institute Classic book series. An example ahead of its time of slow cinema, Fowler describes it as a "contrary classic" - choosing to do what other films don't: stay in the kitchen.
One of the countries most under threat from climate change, Pacific neighbour Vanuatu is taking a lead in the fight against climate change. The Republic is building a coalition of countries seeking an Advisory Opinion on Climate Change from the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Their campaign gained momentum at COP27, winning the support of almost half of the nearly 200 countries. They are asking the ICJ to clarify what obligations governments have to protect their own populations and others and hope to win a vote at the United Nations General Assembly early in the new yea
Renowned scientist Professor Mike Berridge is having his work in cell biology recognised with a doctorate this month. Career highlights have included research he led showing how tumours use mitochondria to grow, and work with blood-forming stem cells.
Edda Mussolini was Benito's favourite daughter and his confidante during 20 years of fascist rule. She acted as envoy to both Germany and Britain, helping steer Italy to join forces with Hitler. UK historian and biographer Caroline Moorehouse's Edda Mussolini: The Most Dangerous Woman in Europe is an account of "the unravelling of the Fascist dream".
One of the country's leading wildlife veterinary experts warns a heavy-handed response may be needed to limit damage if a particularly infectious strain of bird flu reaches our shores. The strain of Avian Influenza A(H5N1) has been circulating throughout Asia since 2014 but has now spread to other parts of the world. In Europe 48 million birds have been culled in the last year in an effort to limit the spread, and in the US 50 million birds have died. The disease has also recently been detected in Peru where nearly 14,000 pelicans and sea birds have died. Massey University Professor Brett Gartrell says that, while Aotearoa's isolation provides some advantage, it's possible the disease could make it here through our migratory bird population. The public should notify any mass bird deaths or strange behaviour to MPI's Exotic Pest and Disease Hotline - 0800 80 99 66
In response to the largest public protests since Tiananmen Square, Chinese government officials have signaled a shift away from 'Zero Covid' and eased some restrictions. China's leader, Xi Jinping, has been firmly committed to eliminating coronavirus infections, with over 300 million citizens currently in lockdown, and mandatory quarantine and mass testing. Frustration at the human toll of these restrictions has resulted in demonstrations in at least 18 cities. Will this government back down be enough to quell the unrest, or does this protest movement signal a serious challenge to the world's most powerful authoritarian government?
Kelly Francis's dream is that every New Zealander has access to a garden of fresh, healthy food to eat and share. From her base in Mangere she's making a vision of community-led food sovereignty a reality, one mari kai at a time.
Hamilton based clinical and research neurologist Dr Matthew Phillips is frustrated by how little he and his colleagues can help patients with degenerative brain disorders, such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, as well as cancer. Drug treatments can lessen symptoms but there's no effective preventive or curative regime for conditions currently affecting over 80,000 New Zealanders.