This Saturday Morning: Kim talks to two scientists with an interest in extending the future of the Ross Sea Marine Protected Area, Drs Regina Eisert and Rochelle Constantine, who've been hanging off boats and icebergs over summer in this service; Pattie Boyd, who was stolen off one music icon (George Harrison) by another music icon (Eric Clapton), talks about her life amongst the stars; pharmaceutical expert Dr Doug Wilson on how to age the slowest way possible; Kenyan Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, talks about his most notable novels, including one written on toilet paper while he was a political prisoner; Sister Margaret Mary Birgan and Dr Mary O'Connell explain what it takes to achieve sainthood in the Catholic Church these days; one of Africa's greatest writers,, and Saturday Morning regular Kate De Goldi drops by to update us on the best young adult fiction of the moment.   


8:10 Rochelle Constantine and Regina Eisert - Whale watch

Orca and Regina Eisert, edge of sea ice at Scott Base

Orca and Regina Eisert, edge of sea ice at Scott Base Photo: R Eisert K070 U Canterbury / Andrew Wright

Dr Regina Eisert

Dr Regina Eisert Photo: Pew Foundation

Dr Rochelle Constantine

Dr Rochelle Constantine Photo: Supplied



Drs Rochelle Constantine and Regina Eisert have both recently returned from expeditions to the new Ross Sea region Marine Protected Area. Dr Constantine, an associate professor in biological sciences at the University of Auckland, studied the distribution of baleen whales throughout the northern Ross Sea on an MBIE-funded voyage on the research vessel Tangaroa. Some 68 groups of whales were spotted during almost 500 hours of dedicated watches in Antarctic waters.  Dr Eisert, a marine mammal expert at the University of Canterbury, conducts research on the Antarctic Type-C killer whale, a toothfish predator and one of the focal species for the MPA. Starting from Scott Base, Dr Eisert studies whales by helicopter and from the sea ice, allowing her to get very close to them. This season, Dr Eisert and her team trialed new multimedia whale traps and were able to capture rare underwater footage of killer and minke whales. Dr Eisert will show video footage of her encounters with whales in Antarctica at a free public event on April 5, details here



9:05  Pattie Boyd - Musical Muse

Pattie Boyd is the ex-wife of George Harrison and Eric Clapton, and inspired them to write some of the greatest love songs of the 20th century. Most famously, Harrison wrote 'Something' and 'I Need You' for her while Clapton penned 'Layla' and 'Wonderful Tonight' in her honour.  After being rejected from a visit to New Zealand with her then-husband Eric Clapton in the 1970s as a result of a drug conviction, Boyd will be telling her life story to audiences in Auckland in May in an event called George Harrison, Eric Clapton and Me; An Evening with Pattie Boyd, details here.

10:05  Doug Wilson - Aging for Beginners

Dr Doug Wilson

Dr Doug Wilson Photo: supplied

Dr Doug Wilson has a medical degree from New Zealand, a PhD from the University of London and has pursued postgraduate work and medical research globally. He currently consults and acts as the Chief Medical Officer for Ferghana Partners Group, whose business is focused on new technologies in biotechnical companies and healthcare. Wilson is dyslexic and after the age of 70 began a new career as a children's author, publishing 10 books to date. His latest book is one for adults, called Aging for Beginners, which lays out the common factors that inhibit a long, healthy life.   


10:30 Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o - Decolonising the mind 

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o Photo: UC Regents / supplied

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o is a novelist, essayist, playwright, journalist, editor, academic and social activist, and currently Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of California, Irvine. Born in Kenya when it was a British colony, as an adolescent he lived through the Mau Mau War of Independence (1952-1962), the central historical episode in the making of modern Kenya and a major theme in his early works. In 1977, wa Thiong'o was arrested as a result of his play Ngaahika Ndeenda (I Will Marry When I Want), which was critical of the injustices of Kenyan society, and he was imprisoned without charge. It was at Kamiti Maximum Prison that wa Thiong'o wrote, on toilet paper, one of his most famous novels Caitani Mutharabaini (Devil on the Cross) (1981).  Forced into exile in 1982, first to Britain and then to US, he has continued to talk, teach and write prolifically, including his memoirs Dreams in a Time of War (2010) and In the House of the Interpreter (2012). His latest is a prison memoir, Wrestling with the Devil (2018). Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o will be appearing at this year's Auckland Writers Festival.   

As referred to in the interview, you can see wa Thiong'o's story The Upright Revolution, translated into dozens of languages, here, and why it's such a milestone in African literature here.



11:05 Mary O'Connell and Sister Margaret Mary Birgan - Sainthood in 2018 

Sister Margaret Mary Birgan at Eileen O'Connor's bed

Sister Margaret Mary Birgan at Eileen O'Connor's bed Photo: Giovanni Portelli Photography © 2017

Dr Mary O'Connell

Dr Mary O'Connell Photo: Supplied


The Catholic church in Sydney this week began the formal process for the beatification of Australian Eileen O'Connor, who co-founded the religious order Our Lady's Nurses of the Poor - also known as the ''Brown Nuns'' because of their distinctive brown cloaks and bonnets. O'Connor died in 1921 aged 28, and the Sisters - who still provide nursing care to the poor, have prayed for her sainthood ever since. To talk about O'Connor, her legacy, and the role of saints in modern life, Kim is joined by Mary O'Connell, historian and author of Our Lady of Coogee: Eileen O'Connor and the founding of Sydney's Brown Nurses, and Sister Margaret Mary Birgan, a Brown Nun who is in charge of the Sydney diocese's investigation into the cause of Eileen O'Connor's sainthood. 

Eileen O'Connor oil painting

Eileen O'Connor oil painting Photo: Our Lady's Nurses for the Poor





11:40 Kate De Goldi - Invisible Hand and Where the world ends 

Kate De Goldi

Kate De Goldi. Photo: supplied.

Kate De Goldi is a fiction writer and book reviewer. Her most recent novel, From the Cutting Room of Barney Kettle, won the Esther Glen Medal at the 2016 NZ Children's and Young Adult Book Awards, and last year she published ANNUAL 2 with Susan Paris, a miscellany for 9-to-12 year olds. She will review Landscape with Invisible Hand by MT Anderson (Candlewick Press) and Where the world ends by Geraldine McCaughrean (Usborne).  



Books mentioned in this episode: 


Aging for Beginners

by Doug Wilson

ISBN-13 9780995103221

Plus One


Wonderful Tonight: George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and Me

by Pattie Boyd with Penny Junor

ISBN 0307393844



Our Lady of Coogee: Eileen O’Connor and the founding of Sydney’s Brown Nurses

By Mary O’Connell

ISBN 9781876906054

Crossing Press


Devil on the Cross (1981)  (Penguin Classics, ISBN 0143107364)

Dreams in a Time of War (2010)  (Pantheon, ISBN 0307378837)

In the House of the Interpreter (2012) (Pantheon, ISBN 0307907694) 

Wrestling with the Devil (2018) (Vintage, ISBN 1784702242)

The Upright Revolution  (short story, translated into multiple languages)  online - see here 

All by Ngugi wa Thiongo


Landscape with Invisible Hand

by MT Anderson

ISBN 0763687898

Candlewick Press


Where the world ends

by Geraldine McCaughrean

ISBN 1474921140


Music played in this show

Artist:  Derek and the Dominos
Song: Layla
Composer: Eric Clapton and Jim Gordon
Album: Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs
Label: Polydor
Played at: 9:06

Artist: The Beatles
Song: Something
Composer: George Harrison
Album: Abbey Road
Label: EMI
Played at: 9:25

Artist: Eric Clapton
Song: Wonderful Tonight
Composer:  Eric Clapton / Michael Kamen
Album: Slowhand
Label: Polydor
Played at: 9:40

Artist: George Harrison
Song: I Need You
Composer: George Harrison
Album: Help!
Label: Capitol/EMI
Played at: 9:50

Artist: Derek and the Dominos
Song: Thorn Tree in the Garden
Composer: Bobby Whitlock  
Album: Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs
Label: Polydor
Played at: 11:40