James Rebanks

James Rebanks Photo: supplied / Andrew Heading

8:10 James Rebanks: is the future of farming the past?

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Photo: supplied

Shepherd James Rebanks tends a flock of Herdwick sheep on a family-owned farm in the Lake District in northern England.

He learned traditional farming ways from his grandfather; a man with a profound connection with his land.

An OE in Australia introduced Rebanks to industrial farming practices, which he applied to his own farm in the 1990s.

After a while he realised that he was in fact damaging the land, soil and local wildlife.

So he started the laborious process of restoring features like hedgerows, pastures, meadows, and dry stone walls- and hasn't looked back. He's now a self declared 'old fashioned farmer'

Following the success of his first book The Shepherd's Life, Rebanks' new one is called English Pastoral: An Inheritance.

9:05 Chris Smith: 2020 - the year of Covid

Cambridge University consultant clinical virologist  Dr Chris Smith's regular conversations about the science of the coronavirus pandemic have been a feature of the show this year.
So what has surprised him the most about Covid-19, and what are some of the questions we are still trying to find answers to?

Meanwhile with the UK now more than a week into its mass vaccination programme, we ask him what the main challenges have been, and what we can learn from it here in NZ.

View of a Coronavirus Covid-19 background - 3d rendering

Photo: 123rf.com

9:40 Having better festive gatherings: Priya Parker

Priya Parker

Priya Parker Photo: Supplied / JEFF-ALLEN.COM

After the year that 2020 has been, how can you improve your family reunions this Christmas?

The author of The Art of Gathering, and host of popular podcast Together Apart, conflict mediator Priya Parker is an  authority on the art of engineering more meaningful social gatherings.

And with many of us only able to connect with our nearest and dearest overseas via Zoom thanks to the pandemic, what can you do to make these interactions even more significant for all of those involved?

10:05 Vincent Ward: filming in Ukraine

Vigil, The Navigator, Map of the Human Heart, What Dreams May Come, River Queen, Rain of the Children -  New Zealander Vincent Ward has a diverse and impressive directing résumé.

He's also an accomplished scriptwriter and painter and was awarded a New Zealand Order of Merit for his services to film in 2007.

In October he started filming in Ukraine on his latest film Storm School, with more filming planned in China, UK and Australia in 2021.

The film is based on a script co-written by Ward and long time collaborator Louis Nowra and tells the story of two dinghy sailors, who overcome adversity to win gold medals at the London 2012 Olympics.

Filming in Ukraine is focussed on the harsh childhood of one of the central characters; so-called "medal maker" and one of the world's greatest sailing coaches, Victor Kovalenko, who guided Australian sailors to six gold medals.

Vincent Ward on set filming in Ukraine

Vincent Ward on set filming in Ukraine Photo: supplied

10:40 Dr. Andrea Clavijo McCormick: plant communication

Andrea Clavijo McCormick

Andrea Clavijo McCormick Photo: supplied

Dr. Andrea Clavijo McCormick of Massey University in Palmerston North recently secured $300,000 in funding from the Royal Society Te Apārangi annual Marsden Fund to study how plants communicate.

And the kind of communication she is interested in isn't just the language of chemicals and colours they use to attract pollinators. Her research also looks at how different plants can communicate with each other.

She's finding that invasive plants like heather and Scotch Broom can suppress communication by local plants.

Andrea Clavijo McCormick Studying Heather in the field 2

Andrea Clavijo McCormick Studying Heather in the field 2 Photo: supplied

11:05 The 'singing vegan': animal welfare activist Sandra Kyle

Sandra Kyle

Sandra Kyle Photo: supplied

Each week retired polytechnic lecturer Sandra Kyle visits two local meatworks to conduct (usually solitary) vigils for animals on their way to slaughter.

A committed vegan and local representative of the international Animal Save Movement, she 'bears witness' as animal trucks arrive and tries to provide some comfort to the animals by making eye contact with them and by singing, playing music, and reciting mantras.

Her objective is to close down all animal slaughterhouses in New Zealand by the year 2025; these aims are outlined in her self-published book Glass Walls.



11:40 Photographer Bruce Connew: NZ's colonial memorials

Acclaimed war photographer Bruce Connew has turned his lens on to our country's colonial memorials to document "a vocabulary of colonisation".

His exhibition A Vocabulary at Te Uru Gallery in Titirangi, Auckland features 79 images of memorials and gravestones dating from 1863 through to 2015, and runs until February 14th.

The exhibition also acts as a preview for a book of the same name due out in February featuring many more photographs.


Books mentioned in this show:

English Pastoral: An Inheritance
James Rebanks
ISBN: 9780241501214
Published by Allen Lane/Penguin Random House NZ

A Vocabulary
by Bruce Connew
ISBN 978-0-473-54543-7
Published by Vapour Momenta Books