New Zealand Listener Issue 39 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
he waka eke noa

My first real job as a young reporter was in a smelly but stunningly beautiful town famous as a tourist hotspot. When I first moved to Rotorua, it had only just lost its status as a city, thanks to local-government reforms. But that was the least of its problems. An incident in one of my first weeks on the job summed up what seemed to me to be the dichotomy at the heart of the place: the chief subeditor yelled at me for using the word “whānau”. “This is an English newspaper!” he scoffed. “We use English words, not Māori!” Yes, in Rotorua, of all places. A few years later, as a political reporter in Wellington, I sat through a meeting of the Parliamentary Māori Affairs Select Committee as Māori Language Commissioner Tīmoti…

11 min
realistic standards

Ngā mihi, Russell Brown, for highlighting cannabis as an exit drug (“The good oil?” September 18). Prescription cannabis is a wonderful tool, supporting patients ready to come off strong medications such as opioid and gabapentinoid pain relievers, sleeping pills, benzodiazepines and antidepressants, to name a few. Although many patients benefit from those medicines, others feel disempowered by dependence, poor efficacy and adverse effects. Tapering and stopping them is often associated with a discontinuation syndrome, including dysphoria, emotional distress and insomnia – all potentially managed by various cannabis products. In my 40 years of general practice, numerous patients have told me the only thing that eases chronic pain, anxiety/depression and insomnia is cannabis (dope, grass, pot, dak, weed – depending on the vernacular of the decade). Medical research and prescriber experience confirm…

1 min
caption competition

WINNING CAPTION Marie Curran, Dunedin FINALISTS Judith Collins: “I told ’em I’ll hold ’em – not fold ’em!” – Michael Smythe, Auckland Collins: “Where can I buy a copy of Zoom for Dummies? Surely it’s not a one-page document?” – Warren Smart, New Plymouth Collins: “Right. Who drew a willy on my notes?” – Joanna Dias, Auckland Collins: “Whaddya mean, ‘Cheer up’? This is my happy face.” – Mike Hamblyn, Dunedin Collins: “It’s my party, Mr Speaker, and I’ll cry if I want to.” – Warren Shaw, Marton Collins: “Simon! Are you passing notes around again?” – Robert Morey, Dunedin Collins: “With respect, Mr Speaker, I am channelling Churchill, not the late Robert Muldoon!” – Mike Hamblyn, Dunedin Collins: “David has stolen my lines!” – Alan Petrie, Te Anau…

1 min

“How many world leaders, for how many decades have seen and known what is coming but have decided that it is more politically expedient to keep it behind closed doors? My generation and the generation after me do not have that luxury.”– Chlöe Swarbrick“Instead of getting married again, one ought to get a dog.” – Advice to widows from novelist Jilly Cooper“Bad news for fans of privacy rights, but great news for The Handmaid’s Tale, which just got a late Emmy nomination for Best Documentary.” – Stephen Colbert on Texan abortion laws“Maybe it’s impossible to recreate the exact weight of a memory, but we keep trying.” – Nina Mingya Powles, Tiny Moons: A Year of Eating in Shanghai“It is of immense importance to learn to laugh at ourselves.” – Katherine…

1 min
10 quick questions

1. True or false? Praying mantises are capable of catching and eating birds. ❑ True❑ False 2. Which organisation has the nickname “Big Blue”? ❑ Ford❑ Pepsi❑ Nasa 3. Which of these is both a type of footwear and a kind of snake? ❑ Slipper❑ Winklepicker❑ Sneaker❑ Moccasin 4. Which comic strip includes the characters Liz, Arlene and Nermal? ❑ Garfield❑ Calvin and Hobbes❑ Peanuts❑ Dilbert 5. Manuel Noriega was the de facto leader of which country from 1983 until his removal in 1989? ❑ Panama❑ Honduras❑ Philippines❑ Grenada 6. Which of these characters is not, strictly speaking, one of the Universal Studios monsters? ❑ Count Dracula❑ The Mummy❑ Frankenstein❑ The Wolf Man 7. Which film includes the line: “This is one time where television really fails to capture the true excitement of a large squirrel predicting the weather”? ❑ A Fish Called…

3 min
perilous path to normality

One of the most obvious delights of living in Europe is the fascinating blend of cultures and countries. Get on a train or plane in your hometown and emerge, a couple of hundred kilometres later, in a different landscape with exotic customs and interesting foods where you don’t understand a word anybody says. But these days, it’s not just how the pasta is served that differs. Over the past year and a half, the pandemic has resulted in more than a few cross-border cultural differences as European nations experience Covid-19 differently. For example, in this tale of 27 pandemics, hardly anybody in Sweden still wears a mask. But in Switzerland, you can’t get on public transport unless you have proof of immunity. In Germany, you don’t leave home without your medical-standard mask.…