This Saturday: Kim starts the morning in conversation with lesbian former-nun Monica Hingston on what drove her to take a public stand against her cousin Cardinal George Pell back in 2004; professional prankster Oobah Butler on the art of bullsh*t; LA-based Iranian-American author Porochista Khakpour talks about years of sickness and misdiagnosis before her health problems were identified; Organic peony farmer Dot Kettle joins us from Nelson; author Christina Thompson tracks the earliest Polynesians and asks how they managed to inhabit every corner of the South Pacific; artist John Reynolds explains why he continues to be so interested in a few lost hours of Colin McCahon in 1984, and finally, Liz Calder, the ex-pat New Zealander who co-founded Bloomsbury Publishing and was responsible for discovering some of the greatest writers of our time including Salman Rushdie and John Irving;


8.09        Monica Hingston - The lesbian ex-nun who stood up to George Pell

Monica Hingston at the 2019 Australian LGBTI Awards

Monica Hingston at the 2019 Australian LGBTI Awards Photo: 2019 Getty Images

In 2004 former nun Monica Hingston took a stand against her second cousin Cardinal George Pell, by making public a letter urging him to reconsider his support of the Vatican's declaration that homosexuals were "seriously depraved persons". Hingston was in a long-term relationship with Peg Moran who she had fallen in love with while they were both serving as nuns in a Chilean shantytown during the rule of Augusto Pinochet. Their love inspired the very private woman to publicly out herself in support of catholic homosexuals facing oppression from their church. In March of this year Cardinal George Pell was sentenced to six years in jail for sexually abusing two choirboys when he was archbishop of Melbourne in the 1990s. Monica Hingston has recently been presented with the Faith award at the Australian LGBTI Awards to honour her activism.


Monica Hingston


8.40        Oobah Butler - How to Bullsh*t Your Way to Number 1

No caption

Photo: Supplied

The Shed at Dulwich was briefly one of the most exclusive and talked about restaurants in south London, reaching number 1 on Tripadvisor, and swamped with booking requests. It was also entirely fictional, the work of Oobah Butler, then shed dweller, writer, filmmaker and soon to be professional faker. Since then, he's bluffed his way into Paris Fashion week, accidentally elevating a fake designer brand to legitimate success, and unleashed a gang of doppelgangers to meet demand for media appearances. He's just about to release a book, How to Bullsh*t Your Way to Number 1.



0904          Porochista Khakpour - Sick 

Porochista Khakpour

Porochista Khakpour Photo: supplied / AWF

Porochista Khakpour was born in Tehran in 1978 and raised in the Greater Los Angeles area. Her debut novel Sons and Other Flammable Objects (2007) was a New York Times Editor's Choice, and 2008 California Book Award winner. Her second novel, The Last Illusion (2014) was a Kirkus Best Book of 2014 and an NPR Best Book of the same year. Her most recent work, Sick, is a memoir of chronic illness, misdiagnosis, addiction and the myth of full recovery and was a 'most anticipated book of the year' by Huffington Post.  Porochista Khakpour will be appearing at the upcoming Auckland Writers Festival, details here



0935          Dot Kettle - Peony power

Georgia Richards and Dot Kettle at their Dove River peony farm

Georgia Richards and Dot Kettle at their Dove River peony farm Photo: Supplied

In 2008 Dot Kettle and her partner Georgia Richards ditched their Wellington city jobs for a 42 hectare property in the Dove Valley in the Tasman region, and began growing peonies. Their business has evolved to focus on an anti-eczema skincare range using peony root. Pure Peony is one of the first five New Zealand businesses to receive a venture capital boost from SheEO, a global venture supporting female entrepreneurs




10.04 Christina Thompson - The Puzzle of Polynesia 

Christina Thompson

Christina Thompson Photo: supplied/ HarperCollins

Christina Thompson is the editor of Harvard Review and the author of Come On Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All: A New Zealand Story, which was shortlisted for the Douglas Stewart Prize for Nonfiction and the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing. Her recent book Sea People: The Puzzle of Polynesia is her second book.  A recipient of grants from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Australia Council, she was awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar Award in 2016. A dual citizen of the US and Australia, she lives outside of Boston. 




10.40        John Reynolds - The lost hours of Colin McCahon 

John Reynolds

John Reynolds Photo: Starkwhite

John Reynolds is one of New Zealand’s foremost artists. For several years he has been working on a body of work that examines the real-life disappearance of Colin McCahon on the eve of the exhibition I WILL NEED WORDS, in Sydney in 1984, when the artist went missing in Sydney’s Botanical Gardens and was found five kilometres away the next morning, disoriented and confused.  This body of work, called Missing Hours, have included WalkWithMe in 2016, and FrenchBayDarkly in 2017, both exhibitions playing with titles of iconic McCahon paintings. A new chapter in the project, timed to coincide with the 100 year anniversary of McCahon's birth, is to be exhibited at the Auckland Art Fair, May 1-5, at The Cloud, Auckland Waterfront. 



John Reynolds: Missing Hours



11.04          Liz Calder - Star ex-pat publisher is honoured in Christchurch 

Liz Calder

Liz Calder Photo: supplied/ UC

Elisabeth Calder emigrated from England to NZ with her family in 1949 and returned in 1958 after graduating with a BA in English literature from the University of Canterbury. This week she was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters (honoris causa) by UC for a stellar career in editing and publishing that saw her co-found Bloomsbury Publishing and discover some of the greatest writers of our times including Salman Rushdie, John Irving, and Anita Brookner. Books under her auspices included The Handmaid's Tale, The English Patient, Midnight's Children and numerous others, and number several Booker and Nobel prize winners. Liz Calder was named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2018.





Books mentioned in this episode:



Porochista Khakpour

ISBN13: 9780062428721



Sea People: The Puzzle of Polynesia

Christina Thompson

ISBN: 9780008339012

William Collins


How to Bullsh*t Your Way to Number 1.

Oobah Butler

ISBN: 1978-1513643656

Where Publications



Music played in this show

Song: This Life
Artist: Vampire Weekend
Album: Father of the Bride
Label:  Columbia Records
Played at 9:32

Song: Dylan Thomas
Artist: Better Oblivion Community Center
Composer: Oberst / Bridgers
Album: Better Oblivion Community Center
Label:  Dead Oceans
Played at 11:04