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Afternoons with Jesse Mulligan for Wednesday 20 December 2017

Short Story Club

Our final short story club story for 2017 is Can’t Beat It by Emily Perkins. We will discuss this tomorrow at 3.10pm with Claire Mabey.

Email us your thoughts and the best one gets a copy of Emily's book of short stories.

1:10 Alternative Christmas Songs

Self confessed Christmas Music Nerd, Russell McMurray sent us a list of what he reckons are the best imaginative Christmas songs. We play one of them, Christmas Must Be Tonight  by Bahamas.

1:15 The call of our birds

Can you tell what bird is singing out in your backyard?

Massey University scientists think they might be able to not only identify bird species through their song but use that information to estimate bird populations in New Zealand. 

The team has been granted funding to create software to do just that. Associate Professor Isabel Castro tells us more about it.

Stephen Marsland and Isabel Castro with Blandy the kiwi, a main participant of this research.

Stephen Marsland and Isabel Castro with Blandy the kiwi, a main participant of this research. Photo: Supplied

1:20 Secret Santa

It's that time of year again for twitter users - New Zealand Secret Santa.

The country's twitterverse sending out packages to their online friends and receiving them from mysterious followers. 

We thought we'd check in with how it's panning out this year with New Zealand Post's social media specialist Libby Greatnews.

The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern sending off her NZ Secret Santa

The Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern sending off her NZ Secret Santa Photo: Twitter / Jacinda Ardern

1:25 Radio tracking our carnivorous snails

Dr Brian Lloyd has been monitoring New Zealand's carnivourous snail, Powelliphanta hochstetteri in the Abel Tasman National Park for Project Janszoon.

He's the only person to have radio-tracked snails in New Zealand and this is the first time snails have been tracked at night. He tells us what he has learned.

1:35 Sound Archives: Christmas Day workers

In our final visit to the sound archives of Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision for 2017,  we will hear from people who have to work on Christmas Day - and hear a recording of a favourite New Zealand Christmas song from 1964.

1:40 Great album: Christine and the Queens

2:20 Bookmarks with Christchurch City Missioner Matthew Mark

Christchurch City Missioner Matthew Mark tells us about the work the mission is doing ahead of Christmas, and tells us about the books, films and music that have influenced and inspired him.

Matthew Mark working at the mens night shelter

Matthew Mark working at the mens night shelter Photo: supplied -CHCH City Mission

3:10 Where do Christmas traditions come from?

Christmas is a beloved holiday in New Zealand, yet most of us don't much of a clue about the traditions that go with it. Why does Santa come down the chimney? Why cut down a perfectly good tree and put it in the lounge? Why is it even in December?

One of our favourite guest on this show is Mark Forsyth, who loves delving into the history and habits of humans - whether it be the history of drunkenness, the order of adjectives or how our Christmas traditions came about.

Today we feature an interview we did with him last Christmas about his book A Christmas Cornucopia: The Hidden Stories Behind Our Yuletide Traditions.

Austrian postcard from 1899

Austrian postcard from 1899 Photo: CC BY SA 2.0 / Taki Steve

3:35 RNZ Eyewitness

3:45 The Pre-Panel Story of the Day and One Quick Question

4:05 The Panel with Lynda Hallinan and James Nokise