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Michelle Wong: Under the skin of the beauty industry

10 Dec 2023

Fewer wrinkles, a fresher complexion and younger skin are sought by many, but what’s behind beauty industry hype?  Dr Michelle Wong is a science communicator who runs the popular Lab Muffin Beauty Science blog where she tests skin products – turning her into a global beauty influencer. Michelle is a cosmetic chemist… Audio

Sunday 10 December 2023

Available Audio (9)

8:10am Calling Home: Sarah Davison in Barcelona 

Calling Home this morning is Sarah Davison in Barcelona. People with long memories may remember her as Fiona Dalgleish who once starred in popular TV show Country GP.  

Sarah went to Rangi Ruru Girls' School in Christchurch, then Canterbury University. At age 23 she set off to live in Europe. She was in London for 18 years, worked as a children's presenter on the BBC, acted, sang, narrated documentaries, and made language learning recordings for Oxford University Press. 

Sarah Davison

Photo: Sarah Davison


8:30am Michelle Wong: Under the skin of the beauty industry  

Less wrinkles, a fresher complexion and younger skin are sought by many, but what’s behind beauty industry hype?  

Dr Michelle Wong is a science communicator who runs the popular Lab Muffin Beauty Science blog where she tests skin products – turning her into a global beauty influencer. Michelle is a cosmetic chemist and science educator with a PhD in Medicinal Chemistry. 

Dr Michelle Wong

Photo: Dr Michelle Wong


9:40am Lisa Sanders: How many people end up with Long Covid? 

The international consensus is that one in ten people who get Covid will feel long-lasting effects.  

That would mean that of the 900 or so cases being reported every day in this resurgence we're experiencing, 100 people will not get over this virus anytime soon.   

Yale University's Dr Lisa Sanders is working hard to unravel the mysteries of Long Covid.

New species of corona virus covid 19 micro cell, 3d rendering

Photo: 123RF


10:10am Mia Fraser: On THAT guitar solo 

Most of us have watched the viral video from St Andrew's College, Christchurch, where students covered Led Zeppelin’s Stairway to Heaven. 



Lead guitarist Mia Frazer joins us to reflect on her newfound stardom and St Andrew’s College Rector, Christine Leighton, explains the work that goes into such a performance. 


10:25am Simone and Malcolm Collins: the pro-birthers trying to grow the population 

Last year, billionaire Elon Musk tweeted that population collapse due to low birth rates is a much bigger risk to civilization than global warming. It is a trend occurring in many countries and although fertility remains high in some regions. Today, close to half of the world’s population lives in a country where lifetime fertility rates are below replacement levels – with New Zealand’s fertility rate declining by about 25% per decade. 

Musk’s view is shared by others who describe themselves as pronatalists, a movement of pro-birth activists. At the centre are Simone and Malcolm Collins. They are co-founders of nonprofit initiative, podcasters and authors – who say the situation is a "demographic catastrophe.” 

Yet for those whose only cultural reference point for a pronatalist society is ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ the ideas can seem problematic. Simone and Malcolm Collins join Jim to argue their case.  

Technician in blue gloves does control check of the in vitro fertilization process using a microscope. Closeup. Horizontal.



11:05am George Packer: America In Crisis 

US journalist, novelist and playwright George Packer may be best known for his work in the New Yorker and The Atlantic regarding U.S. foreign policy, and for his book The Assassins' Gate: America in Iraq. 

The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America, also won the National Book Award for Nonfiction. 

In his latest book, Last Best Hope: America in Crisis and Renewal, George considers diagnoses America's slide into a failed state, and envisions a path toward overcoming injustices, paralyses, and divides. 

Last Best Hope: America in Crisis and Renewal by George Packer - cover and author composite



11:35am Jeffrey Halley: New government, new year, but same old economy? 

Jeffrey Halley is Sunday Morning's man on the money.  

Jeffrey Halley is a Kiwi in Jakarta and Singapore who until recently was the senior market analyst for Asia Pacific for the OANDA corporation, with his analysis regularly sought by Bloomberg, the BBC, Reuters, CNBC, MSN, and the New York Times. 

A currency exchange teller counts out New Zealand dollars alongside a stack of Euros in Auckland, 21 April 2007. The New Zealand dollar hit 74.91 US cents on18 April, the highest level since 1982 and a record since the currency was floated in 1985. On 19 April the currency opened local trading at 74.70 US cents.   AFP PHOTO/Dean TREML (Photo by DEAN TREML / AFP)



11:45am Dr Al Gillespie: A global murder mystery

Dozens of elite Russians have died in suspicious circumstances over the past few years in what the Sydney Morning Herald has called "a global murder mystery." 

Waikato University's International Law professor Alexander Gillespie is the author of the multi-volume series The Causes Of War and A History Of The Laws Of War. He speaks to Jim. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends a patriotic concert dedicated to the upcoming Defender of the Fatherland Day at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow on February 22, 2023. (Photo by Maksim BLINOV / SPUTNIK / AFP)

Photo: AFP

Photo: Supplied


We get regular enquiries about the dynamic show theme for Sunday Morning. People ask about the composer. She is 18 years old, and the daughter of the host! Rebecca Mora is studying music composition at Auckland University, but while she was still at school, Jim asked if he could listen to what she was working on in her spare time one day. He thought right away that what he was hearing sounded great for the radio. In 2020, Rebecca was the Supreme Winner of the Shakespeare Globe Centre New Zealand’s national contest for composition. (It was to mean a trip to the Globe Theatre itself, to compose stage music there, but Covid put paid to that.)

‘Hatstand’ is the title of Sunday Morning’s music theme (feel free to suggest another), and it has been re-energised! Karyn Hay was listening to it one Sunday, with her husband Andrew Fagan (former lead singer of the Mockers and ardent sailor). “This needs re-mastering to bring out its full flavour,” Andrew said to Karyn. Rebecca has now done that with RNZ’s legendary Andre Upston, who has produced many famous musicians in our studios.