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Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan for Monday 17 May 2010

1:10 Best Song Ever Written

The Maori Battalion Trilogy performed by Prince Tui Teka is the best song ever written according to Darrel Clark from Pukekohe.

1:15 8 Months To Mars - what would well-known people do on an trip to Mars?

We've already named our crew for today's virtual trip across the void. He's an Australian actor currently here as part of the cast of a groundbreaking stage musical Avenue Q playing at The Civic in Auckland. David James has had a distinguished 20-year career in acting, but this is his first full stage musical.

2:10 Feature stories

Three New Zealand women are on tenterhooks today waiting to hear if they've made the finals of Australia's Got Talent. Meera Bell Thomson of Wellington, Stephanie Acraman of Napier and Sacha Kilgour of Timaru are all singing coaches who live in Sydney. They sound like the Andrew Sisters with tight harmonies and songs from the 1930s and 1940s. The harmonies have been a winner with audiences... propelling them to the semi-finals of the Australian show last week. One of the judges suggested they do something more modern, so they did Lady Gaga's Bad Romance but with a big band feel.

One in five New Zealanders smoke cigarettes. Smoking rates have been declining over the past 20 years... but tobacco still kills 5 thousand New Zealanders every year. Quitting is tough. Otago University's School of Medicine is launching a 1.6 million dollar research project to see if an oral nicotine spray can help smokers kick the habit. Right now, many smokers use gum and patches to curb nicotine cravings. But the gum and patch can take 30 minutes before they start to work. Doctor Brent Caldwell hopes his study will help New Zealand become a world leader in nicotine replacement therapy

2:30 Reading

Part one of Emily Perkins' 3-stage satire - Can't Beat it.

2:45 He Rourou

The annual Maori language music concert Paopaopao runs in Wellington this Friday and Saturday.

Organiser Ngahiwi Apanui tells Ana Tapiata that the concert is one of the few opportunities to celebrate Maori language music.

2:50 Feature Album

3:12 Author Slot

Joanne Fedler - When Hungry, Eat.

3:33 This Way Up

Rattus rattus is the black rat - otherwise known as the ship rat or roof rat - and Simon Morton off with a pest controller to exterminate a few of these beasties and find out the best way to kill them and what you can do to keep them away from your home.

Winter's coming and it's the time of year when rattus ratttus - is looking for a warmer home and for many rats that means you a house, garage or loft apartment.

Rats and humans have a long, and somewhat problematic history - there's the plague which wiped out nearly half of Europe - not exactly the foundation for a close and loving relationship, after all it was the rat the carried the flea that spread bubonic plague.

But there are people who love rats and even keep them as pets. One man who doesn't is Paul Chapman of Pestproof - he kills them for a living.

3:47 Science story

The story of a plant that famously got its name because Captain Cook used it to treat scurvy amongst his ship crew. But although New Zealanders voted it their 'favourite plant of the year' in 2005 it's unlikely that most New Zealanders have ever actually seen Cooks scurvy grass, as it's both very rare and very inconspicuous.

Botanists, however, pay it a lot of attention, especially in the Chatham Islands.

Alison Ballance joins the Department of Conservation's Amanda Baird as she heads out to Point Munning in the north-east of the main Chatham Island on her annual count. They must time their visit with low tide so they can cross a tidal channel to a small island.

4:06 The Panel

Nicky Pellegrino and John Bishop discuss the new offer from the Government on leaky homes; the surveillance of after-match functions involving school pupils; the esteemed place of pokies in NZ society; new research on the danger of holding a cellphone up to the side of your head. And the genes that let you live to be 100.