New Zealand Listener Issue 11 2021

New Zealand Listener is the country’s most respected general interest magazine, bringing you a wide variety of news, stories, columns, reviews, plus TV listings, every week.

New Zealand
Are Media Pty Limited
52 Issues

in this issue

3 min
put to the test

A few weeks ago, New Zealanders would have laughed at the idea that Covid-ravaged Britain would be showing us how pandemic management should be done. Now, such a high percentage of Britons had their first vaccinations that they’ve been promised Covid passports for international travel by July. By then, this country will just be starting on its main vaccination programme; its would-be travellers will be lucky if a handful of countries are open to them. So, what’s happened to make the difference? The British Government and bureaucratic leadership have had the sense to suspend some “peace-time” protocols, to allow more patient data-sharing and to engage in strategic joint work with private-sector experts. Belatedly, they realised that crisis management means some normal processes are more hindrance than safeguard and they took some calculated…

10 min
educational decline

I cannot agree with those who argue that neuroscience has shown that a so-called “structured, scientific” approach to literacy teaching, informed by brain research, would reverse our woeful literacy statistics (Letters, March 6). I have read “scientific” articles by neuroscientists who claim the opposite case, pointing to the adoption of Whole Language policies beloved of our teachers, under the influence of Dame Marie Clay, Myrtle Simpson, Don Holdaway and others – policies that saw our students performing so impressively in international surveys between 1970 and 2000. However, many neuroscientists argue that little can yet be concluded from the functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) research on literacy teaching. For instance, their research does not capture the brain’s activity in real time. There is a 3-5-second lag between the brain’s activity and the…

1 min
winning caption

John Stribling, Wellington FINALISTS Mitch McConnell: “I would have voted for impeachment but my hands were tied.” – John Oliver, Auckland McConnell: “And I want you all to pick up your golf clubs and march to Mar-a-Lago and demand a membership and I will be right behind you!” – Dianna Rule, Dunedin McConnell: “Sure I’m 79, but so is Bob Dylan and it’s all right for him to be blowin’ in the wind!” – Peter Davidson, Christchurch McConnell: “This is the length the GOP will go to in order to restore democracy.” – Alan Hough, Bethlehem Caption: Mitch slow-clapping for the return of democracy to America. – Simone Stansfield, Wellington McConnell: “Trump’s nose, even in repose, exponentially grows.” – Conal Atkins, Nelson McConnell: “Do I believe Don? It’s a stretch!” – John Bruce, Birkenhead McConnell: “Impeach? Yeah, naaah.” –…

1 min
quips & quotes

“The publication of what governments call a ‘roadmap’ to the Covid recovery is the clincher that it is mostly the preserve of the middle-aged. No one under 30 knows what a roadmap is!” – BBC’s Now Show “If the Government used a satnav, it would constantly be saying, ‘Make a U-turn where possible.’” – Ibid “Mr Potato Head is no longer a mister. And not, as I originally assumed, because he had finally finished his PhD.” – Stephen Colbert “You can tell that they’re Trump’s real tax returns because under ‘total loss’, he still didn’t declare the election.” – Jimmy Kimmel “The crazy thing is that the part about Trump paying no taxes on millions of dollars – that isn’t what he might get busted for. That was probably legal. He could claim huge…

1 min
10 quick questions

1. True or false? Chickens will occasionally eat mice and other small animals. ❑ True ❑ False 2. What does an invigilator do? ❑ Observe prisoners ❑ Monitor traffic congestion ❑ Supervise exams ❑ Incite vigilantism 3. Complete this old saying: A nod is as good as a wink to a… ❑ Lonely priest ❑ Hungry badger ❑ Crooked judge ❑ Blind horse 4. Which country was formerly called South West Africa? ❑ Kenya ❑ Namibia ❑ Angola ❑ Zimbabwe 5. In which sport might you perform a salchow, a toe loop or a triple lutz? ❑ Baseball ❑ Figure skating ❑ Volleyball ❑ Diving 6. Who first recorded a song that begins: “When you were young and your heart was an open book…”? ❑ John Lennon ❑ Guns ‘N Roses ❑ The Beatles ❑ Paul McCartney and Wings 7. Which of these is not the title of a novel by EM Forster? ❑ Howards End ❑ A Room with…

2 min
funny you should ask

Why do men go bald – and always in the same way? It would be more fun if baldness came in a range of styles – cookie-cutter circles, stripes or starting from the back of the neck – but in the case of male-pattern baldness, it’s always the same. The hair on the top of the head departs from the centre outwards. And at the front, it’s the reverse: the centre holds, while baldness creeps in from left and right, leaving an “M”-shape on the forehead. It all starts inside the testes, where most of the male sex hormone testosterone is made. It’s what gives men their deep voices, their beards and their sex drives. And it’s also what takes away their hair. Or, at least, redistributes it. Hairs around the body…