08:10 Dr Jonathan Howard: why US health professionals spread COVID disinformation

Jonathan Howard MD, 'We Want them Infected'

Photo: Jonathan Howard MD

Dr Jonathan Howard says over 800,000 Americans would be alive today if the US had taken New Zealand's Covid approach.

After witnessing mass death and suffering on the front line during New York's first wave he was angered to hear influential health professionals minimise the seriousness of the virus and promote herd immunity. 

 'We want them infected," was the call of then presidential science adviser Paul Alexander. It's the title of Howard's new book, which tells the story of how some medical and public health professionals came to become anti-vaccine and pro herd immunity. 

Dr Jonathan Howard is an Associate Professor of Neurology and Psychiatry at NYU Langone Health and the Chief of Neurology at Bellevue Hospital. 

A refrigerated try with a frigurific truck is used as a morgue at The Brooklyn Hospital Center in the Brooklyn neighborhood of New York during the Covid-19 pandemic in the United States in April, 2020.

Photo: Vanessa Carvalho / Brazil Photo Press via AFP


08:40 Catherine Chidgey: Ockham winner's new novel "Pet"

cover of Catherine Chidgey's book "Pet"

Photo: supplied

On Wednesday night Ngāruawāhia-based writer Catherine Chidgey won the top prize at the Ockham book awards for The Axeman's Carnival

The novel reveals the disintegration of a marriage from the unique viewpoint of a magpie and was described by judge Stephanie Johnson as "poetic, profound and a powerfully compelling read from start to finish."
Chidgey has a new novel Pet, set in New Zealand in 1984 and 2014, which follows a 'teacher's pet', wrestling with her admiration for that teacher. It's released on June 8.

Catherine Chidgey: Ockham winner

Photo: Marcel Tromp


09:10 Doron Semu: making siapo and a safe space for queer Pasifika youth

Siapo making workshop

Photo: Doron Semu

Feeling disconnected from his Sāmoan heritage and language, Doron Semu initially began making siapo (barkcloth made from u'a or paper mulberry) as a way to connect back to his roots.

He's now using his skills to create a safe space for young people LGBTQ+ Pasifika youth to connect by running siapo making workshops

A paediatric nurse in Tāmaki Makaurau specialising in Pacific Island and Māori mental health, Semu is a survivor of conversion therapy,  a practice banned in Aotearoa in 2021. 

Semu is giving a talk and demonstration in siapo as part of Auckland Writers Festival on Saturday 20 May.

Whakatane siapo workshop

Whakatane siapo workshop Photo: supplied


09:35 Falconer Noel Hyde: rescuing kārearea, ruru and barn owls 

Noel Hyde is one of New Zealand’s most respected wildlife taxidermists, but it's with live birds as a falconer he’s now making his mark, helping save kārearea, ruru and barn owls.

Every day he cares for chicks and trains birds at Rotorua's Wingspan Bird of Prey Centre, which is run by his partner Debbie Stewart.

Hyde worked as a taxidermist at Te Papa for 27 years and was named a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in 2018.

10:05 Playing favourites with Stuart McKenzie and Dame Miranda Harcourt

Husband and wife duo Dame Miranda Harcourt and Stuart McKenzie have become central to the film and theatre world.  

It’s all in the family: while Miranda’s mother Kate is one of Aotearoa’s most respected actors, their daughter Thomasin is forging a career in Hollywood
While Miranda acts and directs, Stuart writes. Their most recent play Transmission, a docudrama about Aotearoa’s 2020 response to Covid, has been recently published and is having a reading during Auckland Writers Festival.
As well as their various screen projects, Miranda Harcourt works as an acting coach, her clients including Melanie Lynskey and Bollywood star Samantha Ruth Prabhu. 

Miranda Harcourt and Stewart McKenzie

Photo: Miranda Harcourt and Stuart McKenzie

11:05 Robert Bartholomew: what really caused Cuban embassy staff to get Havana Syndrome

Robert Bartholomew, co-author of 'Havana Syndrome: Mass Psychogenic illness and the Real Story Behind the Embassy Mystery and Hysteria'.

Robert Bartholomew, co-author of 'Havana Syndrome: Mass Psychogenic illness and the Real Story Behind the Embassy Mystery and Hysteria'. Photo: Auckland University

Between 2016 and 2018, dozens of North American diplomats stationed in Havana, Cuba, reported an array of health complaints which coincided with hearing strange sounds.

A theory emerged that the officers were been harassed by a sonic weapon.  

After several years and tens of millions of dollars spent investigating, US Intelligence have concluded the condition dubbed ‘Havana Syndrome’ is a myth, with the sound having a much more banal explanation. 

A sociologist specialising in mass hysteria and social panics, Robert Bartholomew is the co-author with Robert Balohof of 2020 book Havana Syndrome.

The US embassy in Havana, Cuba Photo: supplied


11:40 Danyl McLauchlan: Hannah Arendt and the loneliness of modernity

Danyl Mclauchlan

Danyl McLauchlan Photo: supplied

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

This week, the life and work of influential twentieth century philosopher Hannah Arendt, whose books include The Origins of Totalitarianism and The Human Condition

Born into a Jewish German family, Arendt famously coined the term "the banality of evil"  to describe Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann. 

Danyl is the author of two novels and Tranquillity and Ruin, an essay collection.

Portrait of German-born American political theorist and author Hannah Arendt (1906 - 1975) with a cigarette in her hand, 1949. (Photo by Fred Stein Archive/Archive Photos/Getty Images)

German-born American political theorist and author Hannah Arendt 1949. Photo: Fred Stein Archive


Books featured in this episode

We Want Them Infected: How the failed quest for herd immunity led doctors to embrace the anti-vaccine movement and blinded Americans to the threat of COVID
By Jonathan Howard
Published by Redhawk Publications 

By Catherine Chidgey
ISBN: 9781776920747
Published by Te Herenga Waka Press

The Axeman’s Carnival
By Catherine Chidgey 
ISBN: 9781776920051
Published by Te Herenga Waka Press

Havana Syndrome: Mass Psychogenic Illness and the Real Story Behind the Embassy Mystery and Hysteria 
By Robert Bartholomew and Robert Balohof
ISBN: 9783030407469
Published by Springer Scientific

By Stuart McKenzie
ISBN: 9780908607747
Published by Playmarket

Hannah Arendt: Critical Lives
By Samantha Rose Hill
ISBN: 9781789143799
Published by Reaktion Books



Music played in this show

Teacher's Pet
Doris Day
Played at 8.40am

Prelude (Transmission)
Andrew Thomas
Played at 10.05am

You & Me (Flume mix)
Played at 10.25am

Played at 10.38am

I'll be your mirror
Velvet Underground and Nico
Played at 10.54am

Om Shanti
Alice Coltrane
Played at 11.40am