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Great Encounters

RNZ New Zealand

In-depth interviews selected from RNZ National's feature programmes during the week.


New Zealand




In-depth interviews selected from RNZ National's feature programmes during the week.



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Stephen Burt on poetry

Poetry can be perplexing… some say that’s the point. But writer, poet and critic Stephen Burt is here to help.


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Karyn Hay: 'You’ve got to take it to the limit'

Writing is what Karyn Hay likes best. Her debut novel Emerald Budgies won Best First Book at the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2000 and she’s just published a new novel, The March of the Foxgloves. Yet for a certain generation of Kiwis, Hay will always be the rock chick who presented Radio with Pictures in the 1980s.


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Rediscovered WWI antiseptic to battle pandemic illnesses

A long-forgotten antiseptic, used in World War I could help make people more resistant to disease spread during a pandemic.


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Alan Bird

Macular degeneration is the major cause of blindness in people over 50 in New Zealand - but eye specialists say revolutionary new treatments and raising awareness of the problem will help to overcome it. Professor Alan Bird is a world expert on the retina, whose work has spanned four decades. He is a consultant at the Institute of Ophthalmology at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London and is in Aotearoa this month as a guest of Macular Degeneration New Zealand.


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Hacking, MPS, police & the press

Five years on from the Fleet street phone hacking scandal, new press restrictions in the UK have been labelled a 'threat to democracy and accuracy'. Kathryn Ryan discusses the relationship between the police and the press, with leading criminologist Dr Marianne Colbran and the important lessons to be learned.


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Professor Ian Reid - The fracture tsunami

Auckland University's Professor Ian Reid was one of those behind ground-breaking studies that revealed vitamin supplements are largely ineffective when it comes to restoring bone density. Now he's warning of an upcoming "fracture tsunami" as New Zealand's population ages.


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Alison McCulloch: post-natal depression

Research indicates about 15% of mothers suffer from this serious health issue, but it often go undetected and untreated, says investigative journalist Alison McCulloch. She's just published a large multimedia investigation into post-natal depression In collaboration with and


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What do special needs children need in the classroom?

As the Ombudsman investigates complaints about two schools confining special needs children in seclusion rooms, Kathryn Ryan talks with teacher and mum of three, Julie Hanify, who was diagnosed with ADHD and autism in her 40s. She's just written a book about her experiences, called A Small Blue Thing.


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Jeavons Baillie: conservation and the National Library

Kim Hill talks to Jeavons Baillie, who volunteered to assist with painting restoration in Florence after the devastating floods in November 1966, was the first Conservation Officer for the Alexander Turnbull Library in Wellington from 1970 to 1989, and was instrumental in incorporating the principles of preventive conservation at the new National Library of New Zealand Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa building in Wellington in 1987. He founded the NZ Professional Conservators Group in 1983,...


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Beth Shapiro: mammoths, genetics and de-extinction

Kim Hill talks to molecular palaeontologist Professor Beth Shapiro, who is Director for Conservation at the University of California Santa Cruz Genomics Institute, and Research Associate of the Denver Museum of Natural History. She runs the Paleogenomics Lab at UCSC with Professor Richard (Ed) Green, and is visiting New Zealand as a guest of Allan Wilson at Otago and NZ Genomics Ltd, with the support of the Australasian Genomic Technologies Association and the Next Generation Sequencing...


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Sarah Laing: Katherine Mansfield and comics

Kim Hill talks to graphic designer, illustrator, and writer Sarah Laing. She is co-editor (with Rae Joyce and Indira Neville) of Three Words: an Anthology of Aoteraoa/NZ Women's Comics (Beatnik Publishing), and the author of the new book Mansfield and Me: a Graphic Memoir (VUP). An exhibition based on the book will be opening at the Katherine Mansfield House and Garden on 14 October, Mansfield's 128th birthday.


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Anthony Byrt: art, criticism, and poker

Kim Hill talks to New Zealand critic and journalist Anthony Byrt, writer for Metro, contributor to international contemporary art magazine Artforum International, and Reviewer of the Year at the 2015 Canon Media Awards. He writes about his life, and art, in This Model World: Travels to the Edge of Contemporary Art (AUP).


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Hugh Sebag-Montefiore: the battle of the Somme

Kim Hill talks to Hugh Sebag-Montefiore about his new history, Somme: Into the Breach, a fresh account of the most famous battle of World War 1, which saw over a million casualties, including some 1,500 New Zealanders killed.


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Matt Vickers - Lecretia's Law

The husband of Lecretia Seales, Matt Vickers, joins Wallace to talk about her legacy - Lecretia's Law - and why it's important for the future of terminally ill New Zealanders.


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Bronwyn King: tobacco free investment

Kim Hill talks to Dr Bronwyn King, CEO of Tobacco Free Portfolios and a practising radiation oncologist at Epworth HealthCare and Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre in Melbourne. She is leading a global initiative to encourage pension funds, sovereign wealth funds, banks, insurers and fund managers to implement tobacco free investment policies. Momentum has built steadily with 35 large Australian pension funds now tobacco free.


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Indigenous people in prison - can the vicious cycle be broken?

Around 15 percent of New Zealand's population is Maori and yet they make up over 50 percent of prison inmates. In Canada indigenous people represent 25% of the inmates in state prisons, despite making up only 4.4% of the country's population. Nine to Noon talks to Canada's Justice Minister and Attorney General, Jody Wilson-Raybould who's First Nations herself, on tackling the high number of indigenous people in our prisons.


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Elizabeth Hay: Canada and nostalgia

Kim Hill talks to Canadian writer Elizabeth Hay, a former radio broadcaster, and the author of many short story collections and novels, most recently, His Whole Life. She speaks at two WORD Christchurch sessions Canadian Tales: Elizabeth Hay and the panel discussion About a Boy, and at the Dunedin Writers and Readers Pop-Up Session.


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Patricia Routledge on Beatrix Potter

Perhaps best known as Hyacinth Bucket from Keeping Up Appearances, award-winning stage and screen actor Patricia Routledge talks to Nine to Noon about making a comeback to our screens - this time with Jemima Puddleduck, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle and Peter Rabbit. She has written and presented her first TV documentary Beatrix Potter with Patricia Routledge.


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Jacinta Ruru: law from a Maori perspective

Kim Hill talks to Professor Jacinta Ruru (Raukawa), who has been the only Maori Law Faculty staff member at the University of Otago since 1999. She has designed a new experience of learning law that brings into the classroom Maori experiences of the law, Maori relationships with land, and Maori challenges for change. She won the Prime Minister's Supreme Award, and a Sustained Excellence Award in the Kaupapa Maori category, at the 2016 National Tertiary Teaching Excellence Awards run by Ako...


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Stuart Firestein: ignorance, failure, and how we smell

Kim Hill talks to neuroscientist Dr Stuart Firestein, Chair of Columbia University's Department of Biological Sciences, whose lab studies the vertebrate olfactory system, seeking answers to the question: how do I smell? He is the author of two books on the workings of science: Ignorance, How it Drives Science, and Failure: Why Science is So Successful, and is the presenter of three public talks on the nature of scientific practice for this year's Sir Douglas Robb Lectures 2016 at the...