17 Dec 2019

Best of 2019: the freethinkers

8:38 am on 31 December 2019

Some of our most popular characters of the year walked roads less travelled; they refused to hate, they yodelled, lived off the grid and created gourmet garden sheds.

Jamali Maddix: how to talk to the haters 

When English comedian Jamali Maddix takes to the stage, expect brutally honest material on the state of society and personal tales of hate and confrontation.

Jamali Maddix

Photo: comedyfestival.co.nz


Eve Ensler: 'Writing an apology to myself from my abusive father has freed me'

In her latest book The Apology, Eve Ensler writes an apology to herself from her long-dead father for his sexual and physical abuse of her as a child.

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Photo: supplied / Paula Allen


Pio Terei on loss, laughter and living off the grid

New Zealand is ripe for living off the grid, says Māori actor, singer and comedian Pio Terei.

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Photo: Maori Television


Eddie Jaku: the 99-year-old Holocaust survivor refuses to hate

Eddie Jaku was sent to Auschwitz as a young man and survived by hiding in a cave and eating slugs and snails.

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Photo: Supplied


Wylie Gustafson: The yodeler who sued Yahoo! and won

The man behind the trademark yodel for Yahoo! - all three notes of it - says he's really all about the (country) music.

Wylie Gustafson

Photo: ©Thomas Lee


'Not one more acre': The mana of Dame Whina Cooper

In 1975, Dame Whina Cooper was 80, and frail, when she led a hikoi more than 1054 kilometres to the steps of Parliament in Wellington - and demanded to be listened to. 

Dame Whina Cooper

Photo: Christian F Heinegg


The evolutionary ecologist who found god via Richard Dawkins

Science alone can't save the planet, according to ethnobiologist and Anglican minister Andy Gosler. The world needs more connection and understanding, he says.

Andy Gosler and tattoo

Photo: Twitter


Kitty Flanagan's 488 Rules For Life

Australian comedian Kitty Flanagan's guide to modern behaviour covers surround-sound, hipster-talking parents, old men and their hair,  tattoos and airport etiquette.

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Photo: Rebecca Bana


Oobah Butler: the English writer who passed his garden shed off as a top-rated restaurant

English writer Oobah Butler shot to infamy when he turned the garden shed he was living in into TripAdvisor's top-rated London restaurant – by creating a fake website.

Writer and filmmaker Oobah Butler

Photo: Curtis Brown


Sarah Perry on leaving the church to become a writer

British author Sarah Perry (The Essex Serpent) talks to Kim Hill about faith, illness, moral courage and her taste for the gothic.

Sarah Perry

Photo: supplied / AWF

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