08:10 Anu Partanen: why is Finland so happy? 

Finland was named the happiest country in the world this month for the third straight year.

The country’s come out on top of the World Happiness Report. So why are the Finns so happy?

And is their good humour persisting in the face of COVID-19? Anu Partanen is the author of The Nordic Theory of Everything who’s recently moved back to her native Finland after a decade spent living in New York.

Helsinki, Finland - August 30: Unidentified people in Helsinki Old Town, Finland at August 30, 2018.

Photo: 123RF

08:30 Paul Monks: How the COVID-19 pandemic is massively reducing air pollution 

There might be one silver lining to the novel coronavirus pandemic; clean air.

With major restrictions on transport and manufacturing, we are seeing a huge reduction in levels of air pollution around the world.

Paul Monks used to chair the UK government’s science advisory committee on air quality. Now Professor of Air Pollution at the University of Leicester, he’s been studying European Space Agency satellite data that shows a huge drop in the levels of common pollutants like nitrogen dioxide across the world.

He describes the situation as the “largest scale experiment ever” in the impact of reducing emissions.

The University of Leicester's professor Paul Monks

The University of Leicester's professor Paul Monks Photo: Supplied

09:05 Jaimee Perrett: Nelson teacher’s enforced Ghana stay  

Jaimee Perrett is a primary school teacher from Nelson who’s been fundraising to rebuild a school in Tetrem, a village about 300 kilometres north west of the Ghanaian capital, Accra.

A few months ago she arrived in Tetrem and started the rebuild project. The original plan was that she would oversee the project until June, when she will return back to New Zealand to get a job and start on more fundraising to finish the project.

But COVID-19 has intervened and she now finds herself having to stay in Ghana for the foreseeable future, without any real prospect of returning home. 

Jaimee Perrett and some of her fellow volunteers

Jaimee Perrett and some of her fellow volunteers Photo: Facebook/Tetrem Ghana Good Foundation School

09:25 Dr Chris Smith: COVID 19 lockdown science

New Zealand and much of the world is on lock-down due to the spread of COVID-19 and the science around the virus is moving fast. We're joined once again by consultant clinical virologist (and Naked Scientist) Dr Chris Smith for the latest.

He'll update us on what we know about symptoms, potential vaccines, treatments and the virus’ spread.

Also with a weekly visit to the supermarket or a walk with the dog becoming our only contact with the outside world how can we minimise the risk that we somehow introduce the virus into our ‘bubble’. For example is washing bags and packaging over the top?  

Auckland's Otahuhu on the morning of 26 March, on the first day of the nationwide Covid-19 lockdown.

Photo: RNZ / Cole Eastham-Farrelly

10:05 Ed Caesar: hunting huge diamonds 

Journalist and writer Ed Caesar

Journalist and writer Ed Caesar Photo: Supplied/Edcaesar.co.uk

Journalist Ed Caesar has been globe-trotting through Africa and Europe on the trail of the world's largest rough diamonds.

In doing so he visited the Botswana mine where three of the world's 10 biggest rough diamonds have been found in the space of just a few years, using some groundbreaking technology and mining techniques.

The Lesedi La Rona, a tennis ball-sized gem found in Botswana, had been estimated to sell for over $70 million.

The Lesedi La Rona, a tennis ball-sized gem found in Botswana, had been estimated to sell for over $70 million. Photo: AFP


10:30 Author Harlan Coben on his new novel The Boy From The Woods 

Home by Harlan Coben cover

Home by Harlan Coben cover Photo: Supplied

Blockbusting US novelist Harlan Coben has a new book out; The Boy From The Woods, and this week he was meant to be on a book tour to promote it.

That's all off now of course but we'll speak to him about his popularity in France, crime fiction as a form of escapism, and the deal with Netflix that sees several of his books (including Safe and The Stranger) come to the small screen.

Author Harlan Coben

Author Harlan Coben Photo: Supplied


1105 Steve Wratten: plants to please bees

Prof Steve Wratten

Prof Steve Wratten Photo: supplied / Tony Stewart

Steve Wratten is Professor of Ecology with the Bio-Protection Research Centre based at Lincoln University.

He is the world leader in biological control of pests and is currently working on using ecological techniques to reduce the decline in populations of pollinators such as bees.

This includes looking at which plants provide the best food for them and why they prefer to drink dirty water.

He also wrote a gardening column for Stuff for many years. 

No caption

Photo: Unsplash / Zee McHugh


1135 Doug Wilson: the lockdown and the elderly

Dr Doug Wilson

Dr Doug Wilson Photo: supplied

Our expert on ageing Doug Wilson's back with his perspective on the COVID-19 lockdown and what this means for the elderly. He'll have sensible advice and tips to get through what looks like it could be an extended period of disruption, anxiety and for some people loneliness.

Music played in this show

- 8:05 - Somewhere on a Beach by Dierks Gently 

- 9:05 Home by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes 

- 9:35 The Chain by Fleetwood Mac 

- 10:05 This Year by The Mountain Goats 

- 11:05 Closing Time by Leonard Cohen