8.10 Dr Chris Smith: Covid-19 science news

Our regular commentator Cambridge University consultant clinical virologist Dr Chris Smith joins us with the latest Covid-19 science, and to answer your questions.

This week the Wellington region was put on alert level 2 restrictions after a traveller from Sydney spent the weekend in the city and then returned to Australia, where they tested positive for Covid-19.

Health officials are working under the assumption the visitor has the Delta variant, which is estimated to be 40 percent more transmissible than the Alpha variant. Dr Smith will discuss the Delta variant, and whether the current vaccines are robust enough to cope with the emerging Covid-19 variants.

Wellington's Taranaki Street Covid-19 testing site on 23 June, 2021.

Covid-19 testing queue in Wellington this week Photo: RNZ / Dom Thomas


8.30 Alan Merry: making our medical system safer

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Professor Alan Merry is a world leading anaesthetist, and deep thinker about safe surgery on a macro and micro level. Professor Merry says that while New Zealand’s health system is pretty safe, it could be safer. He believes that when something goes wrong for a patient, we still don’t adequately consider how we fix the wider problem – we look to someone to blame. 

Professor Merry’s aim is to see improved focus on why things go wrong in the medical system, and the appropriate legal response when they do. He played a fundamental role in getting manslaughter taken off the books for doctors, with the NZ Medical Law Reform Group and the Crimes Amendment Act of 1997.

Professor Merry is the Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Medical and Health at the University of Auckland, and he is a specialist in anaesthesia and chronic pain management at Auckland City Hospital. His new book, co-written with Dr Joyce Wahr, is Medication Safety during Anesthesia and the Perioperative Period - out now published by Cambridge University Press.


9.05 Tim Hume: the rise of the extreme right in Europe

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Over the last 10 years there has been a dramatic rise in far-right movements across Europe. 

In Greece, the neo-Nazi party Golden Dawn in 2012 grew to become the third largest party in the parliament. In Italy, an anti-immigrant campaign by politician Matteo Salvin coincided with a surge of racist abuse and attacks. And in Poland ultranationalists and football hooligans have become willing foot soldiers in the country’s never-ending culture war.

But what has been driving this growth of far-right populism? How bad is it? And is there an end in sight? 

London-based New Zealand journalist Tim Hume has been investigating the rise of these far-right movements for his five-part documentary 'Decade of Hate' series, currently featured on Vice

Christos Pappas of the extreme far-right Golden Dawn party, is escorted by police to the prosecutor's office on September 29, 2013

Christos Pappas of the extreme far-right Golden Dawn party, is escorted by police to the prosecutor's office on September 29, 2013 Photo: AFP Photo


9.30 Francis and Kaiora Tipene: Casketeers on the traditions of tikanga

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The beloved stars of The Casketeers, Francis and Kaiora Tipene, show how the traditions of tikanga shape their lives while juggling five sons, three businesses, and a television show in their new book Tikanga: Living with the Traditions of Te Ao Māori.

Tikanga follows the Tipene’s bestselling memoir Life as a Casketeer, released last year, but they are quick to point out that it's not an encyclopaedia of Māori culture or a book of Māori rituals, nor is it a phrase book for learning some te reo Māori. It is about how the concepts of tikanga affect their day-to-day lives, and largely looks through the filter of the processes surrounding death - which they deal with every day in their professions as funeral directors.

Francis and Kaiora Tipene

Francis and Kaiora Tipene Photo: supplied


10.05 Edmund Richardson: finding the lost city of Alexandria

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Founded by Alexander the Great, the city of Alexandria sat at an important junction of the southern foothills of the Hindu Kush mountains. For centuries it was a thriving city, bringing together east and west. And then it vanished.

Alexandria, the new book by Dr Edmund Richardson, doesn’t just dive into what happened to this lost city - it tells the extraordinary 19th century story of Charles Masson, an ordinary boy from London turned deserter, archaeologist, and highly respected scholar. 

This unlikely archaeologist discovered tens of thousands of pieces of Afghan history, including the 2000-year-old Bimaran golden casket, which has upon it the earliest known face of the Buddha. Alexandria: The Quest for the Lost City is the first time Masson’s story has been told in full.

Dr Edmund Richardson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Classics and Ancient History at Durham University.

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Photo: Yepoka Yeebo


10.30 Boyd Klap: on being yourself and remembering Anne Frank

At age 94 Boyd Klap continues to have a remarkable life helping make remarkable things happen. In recent years these have revolved around the memory of Anne Frank, who famously hid with her family in an attic in Amsterdam during World War II, only to be discovered by the Nazis and die in a concentration camp.

Earlier this month, Klap opened a memorial to Frank in Wellington, and this coming week Let Me Be Myself - the Life Story of Anne Frank opens at Nelson Provincial Museum. Klap has been touring the exhibition nationally with the Holocaust Centre of New Zealand since 2009, and in 2019 he got The Diary of Anne Frank published translated into Te Reo Maori

Dutch-born Boyd Klap is the same age as Frank would have been if she’d lived. He was 13 when the Nazis arrived in his town in Holland – and at 17 he joined the Dutch resistance.  A former CEO of Prudential Insurance, Chair of the New Zealand Police Superannuation Fund, and the founder of the New Zealand-Netherlands Foundation - which he only stepped down from aged 84 - Klap has been involved in organising and fundraising for many major public events. He is a Companion of the Queen’s Service Order and of the New Zealand Order of Merit .

 Let Me Be Myself - the Life Story of Anne Frank opens at Nelson Provincial Museum this Friday 2 July.

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Photo: Image: Catherine Cattanach


11.05  Lorin Clarke: celebrating the comedy genius of John Clarke 

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The father of modern Kiwi comedy John Clarke is being celebrated in a new online collection launched by NZ On Screen. Clarke, who died in 2017, was perhaps best known on this side of the ditch for his tongue-in-cheek portrayal of the quintessential Kiwi farmer with alter-ego Fred Dagg, who was quickly adopted as part of the national identity in the mid-70s. Later he moved to Melbourne, where he took on Australian politics with fellow satirist Bryan Dawe.

 ‘The John Clarke Collection’ follows his career trajectory from New Zealand to Australia, and features a treasure trove of early skits and television specials, including The Wonderful World of Fred Dagg, A Bit of A Dagg, and the iconic Dagg spoof episode of Country Calendar. On top of that, there are skits from news satire shows Gallery, Nationwide, and Tonight At Nine.

Clarke’s daughter Lorin Clarke, a writer, broadcaster and columnist based in Melbourne, worked with NZ On Screen to bring the collection together.  She joins the show to discuss her father’s incredible legacy.


11.40 Life’s Big Questions: Nicky Hager and NZ’s role in Five Eyes

Danyl Mclauchlan

Danyl Mclauchlan Photo: supplied

Protein scientist and writer Danyl McLauchlan joins Kim to tackle life's big questions, ideas and thinkers.

This week he's discussing the current relevance of Nicky Hager’s 1996 book Secret Power in relationship to the Five Eyes network, the GCSB, and New Zealand’s ongoing role in global surveillance.  

McLauchlan regularly contributes essays to The Spinoff and released his first collection, Tranquillity and Ruin in February of this year. He's also the author of comic noir novels Unspeakable Secrets of the Aro Valley and Mysterious Mysteries of the Aro Valley.


Books mentioned in this show:

Medication Safety during Anesthesia and the Perioperative Period
Alan Merry and Joyce Wahr 
ISBN: 978-1107194106
Cambridge University Press

Tikanga: Living with the traditions of te ao Māori 
Francis and Kaiora Tipene
ISBN: 9781775541752
HarperCollins NZ

Alexandria: The Quest for the Lost City
Dr Edmund Richardson
ISBN: 9781526603814

Te Rātaka a Tētahi Kōhine ​(The Diary of a Young Girl)
Anne Frank, translated by Te Haumihiata Mason
ISBN: 9780473478247
Holocaust Centre of NZ

Secret Power
Nicky Hager 
ISBN: 978-0908802357
Craig Potton Publishing


Music featured in this show:

We don't know how lucky we are

Fred Dagg

Fred Dagg's Greatest Hits