This Saturday Morning: Kim starts the morning with Mandy Whyte, who explains the steps she took to save her son from a potentially deadly P-addiction; journalist Tom Wright outlines a case of corruption and greed, perpetrated by a young chancer, that's snared the world's top financial institutions, Hollywood, and the ex-Prime Minister of Malaysia, among others; Christina Hoff Sommers on why she believes modern feminism displays "irrational hostility to men"; Dame Suzie Moncrieff celebrates 30 years of the World of Wearable Art - and the festival's future moves;   Brett Cowan, the new head of ESR, explains his unusual interests - and why they led him to visit Chernobyl as a tourist; Governments can be improved and, eventually, trusted again, according to researcher Max Rashbrooke, and finally, Sophie Barker, who hopes to be heralding a successful albatross breeding season in Otago in 2018. 



8:09  Mandy Whyte - Rescuing her son from drug addiction

Mandy Whyte

Photo: Supplied

Mandy Whyte launched a rescue mission to save her son's life after discovering the extent of his methamphetamine addiction and how his drug use was leading him to permanent psychosis, prison, or death. Whyte is a New Zealander who has worked for 30 years advising and managing aid and development programmes in the Pacific and Indonesia, and currently in the Solomon Islands. She was brought up in Taranaki but her New Zealand base is now on the Kapiti Coast. In her book, Dancing on a Razor's Edge, she explores the limits of care available for drug addicts, and challenges the idea that it's up to these people to find their own way to treatment. 


9:06  Tom Wright - Author of Billion Dollar Whale: The Man Who Fooled Wall Street, Hollywood, and the World

Tom Wright

Tom Wright Photo: supplied

Billion Dollar Whale: The Man Who Fooled Wall Street, Hollywood, and the World, recounts the true story of Jho Low, dubbed "the Malaysian Great Gatsby". Low, who is currently on the run, persuaded then-Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Razak to create an investment fund that he would direct from the shadows in 2009. The fund, which escaped notice or censure by global banks, international auditors, central bankers, and watchdogs, raised billions of dollars which was spent on high living by Low and associates. Najib Razak was arrested in July for his part in the scheme. Kim talks to Tom Wright, who co-authored Billion Dollar Whale with Bradley Hope. Both journalists work for the Wall Street Journal; Wright is a Pulitzer finalist, a Loeb winner, and has garnered numerous awards from the Society of Publishers in Asia, which in 2016 named him Journalist of the Year.


9:35  Christina Hoff Sommers - Bad feminism or factual feminism?

Christina Hoff Sommers

Christina Hoff Sommers Photo: supplied

Christina Hoff Sommers is an author and philosopher famed for her critique of contemporary feminism. Sommers has penned books Who Stole Feminism? (1994) and The War Against Boys (2000), and also hosts a video blog called The Factual Feminist. Sommers' positions have been characterised by the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy as "equity feminism", a libertarian feminist perspective which suggests that the main political role of feminism is to ensure the right against coercive interference is not infringed, arguing that modern feminist thought often contains an "irrational hostility to men".  Sommers will debate professor, cultural critic and blogger Roxane Gay at an event at the end of March 2019 called #FEMINIST - details here. 

10:04 Dame Suzie Moncrieff - To Russia with WOW

World of Wearable Art founder Dame Suzie Moncrieff is back in a driving role for the 30th anniversary show which opens in Wellington next week. She has taken a back seat for the past few years, but 2018 sees her return as script writer and to work alongside show director Malia Johnston. More than 60,000 people see the show each year and it has grown into an international business with designers from 40 countries entering the annual competition. This year the WOW international travelling exhibition will open in St Petersburg, Russia, in October. WOW runs from September 27 - October 14 in Wellington. 


10.35   Brett Cowan - New chief scientist at ESR and tourist to Chernobyl 

ESR's new Chief Scientist, Brett Cowan

ESR's new Chief Scientist, Brett Cowan Photo: supplied

ESR's new chief scientist, Brett Cowan, has an honours degree in mechanical engineering as well as a medical degree.  Last year, he graduated with an MBA from Auckland University - his youngest son also graduated with a BCom at the same ceremony. Rotorua-born, he was the first person in his extended family to get a degree. As an engineer he designed wind generation systems, kiwifruit windbreaks and instrumentation for the America's Cup yachts. After gaining a medical degree, he became the director of the Centre for Advanced Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI).  Cowan started work at ESR last month, and come to his new role after an extended overseas trip, which included a long-held goal to visit Chernobyl, where he toured the former nuclear power plant




11:04 Max Rashbrooke  - Government for the public good 

Max Rashbrooke

Max Rashbrooke Photo: supplied

Max Rashbrooke is a journalist, author and academic based in Wellington. His first book in 2013, Inequality: A New Zealand Crisis, was followed by The Inequality Debate (2014) and Wealth and New Zealand (2015). He's just released Government for the Public Good: The Surprising Science of Large-Scale Collective Action which presents a rethink of the role and potential of government. Rashbrooke is a research associate of the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies at Victoria University of Wellington. He has twice been the recipient of the Bruce Jesson Senior Journalism Award, and was a 2015 Winston Churchill Fellow.


11.45 Sophie Barker - Albatross return to Otago

Sophie Barker

Photo: Supplied

This Saturday, September 22, marks the 80th anniversary of the first known albatross chick to fledge from Taiaroa Head on the Otago Peninsula. Credit for this goes to conservationist and citizen scientist Lance Richdale who often camped near the nest to protect it from predators and people. On Tuesday this week, bells rang in Dunedin to celebrate the first Royal Albatross returning for the spring breeding season. Otago Peninsula Trust marketing manager, Sophie Barker, tells Kim that hopes are high for this season after a disastrous year in 2017. Listeners can often see the albatross in action via this link

Books mentioned in this episode:


Dancing on a Razor’s Edge

by Mandy Whyte

ISBN: 9780995110700

The Cuba Press


Billion Dollar Whale: The Man Who Fooled Wall Street, Hollywood, and the World  

by Tom Wright

ISBN: 9780316436502

Hachette Books 


Government for the Public Good: The Surprising Science of Large-Scale Collective Action

by Max Rashbrooke

ISBN: 9781988545080

Bridget Williams Books