New Zealand Listener Issue 48 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
slow change

December 3 is the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities. This year’s theme is “leadership and participation of persons with disabilities towards an inclusive, accessible and sustainable post-Covid world”. Each year, I use this day to reflect on the state of the nation for the about one million disabled people in Aotearoa New Zealand. And each year, my reflections remind me how slow substantive change to improve our lives has been – lots of tinkering on the edges to make small, incremental gains. People often tell me I should celebrate these small wins. But I don’t agree. Disabled people deserve more than small wins after decades of advocacy. We need big wins. Transformative change. That’s because disabled people are over-represented in poor social outcomes for health, education, justice, housing and employment…

11 min
the challenges of disability

The bravery and stoicism of the families with disabilities in Colleen Brown’s excellent article “Shut in & burnt out” (November 20) highlighted the seemingly overwhelming difficulties and lack of organised support and respite. She has been a brilliant advocate for families and individuals with disabilities for 40 years. When considering the educational placement for our eldest daughter, who was born with an intellectual disability, we’d been thinking about mainstreaming, but a Special Education Service psychologist told us we had “middle-class aspirations for our mentally subnormal child”. Then I met Colleen, whose enthusiasm and wisdom helped us to decide that our daughter must be in the mainstream. Colleen has always had an unerring vision for the tremendous potential of those with disabilities and an insight into how best to create satisfying and fulfilling…

1 min
caption competition

WINNING CAPTION Ellie Henderson, Motueka FINALISTS Boris Johnson: “This is a real light ale.” – Chris Bossley, Lower Hutt Johnson: “If they think they have me over a barrel, they’d better think again.” – Hans Zindel, Palmerston North Johnson: “Can I view Russia through this?” – Kate Gore, Tauranga Rishi Sunak: “I see that you’re taking the piss again, Boris!” – Bob Richardson, Christchurch Sunak: “We’re in luck, Boris. Here’s one with something left in the bottom.” – Graham Dickson, Dunedin Johnson: “Everyone who votes me in again will get a drink.” Sunak: “These two barrels should be enough.” – Tommy Wilson, Papamoa Johnson: “This is a nice light beer, Rishi. What’s yours like?” – Wayne Phillips, Palmerston North Sunak: “Boris, the critics were wrong. You can organise a piss-up in a brewery.” – Ricky Feutz, Tauranga…

1 min
quips & quotes

“In academia, there’s a lot of weird cats … so it’s not that absurd to have a mullet and a moustache.”– Joel Rindelaub, University of Auckland chemist and Covid commentator“We don’t win anything by mocking and ostracising them even more, especially Māori. We are just reinforcing to them what they already believe, which is society doesn’t care about them.”– Wellington City Councillor Tamatha Paul on the Wellington anti-mandate protest“Basically, they made a deal to save the Amazon from Amazon.”– Jimmy Kimmel on the 100 world leaders who agreed at the COP26 summit to end deforestation by 2030“Can you really blame Joe Biden? I mean, if you’re going to blame anyone, blame British cuisine. You can’t serve a 78-year-old man baked beans for breakfast and then act shocked when he blows…

1 min
10 quick questions

1. True or false? Corned beef is cured with a technique that uses corn. □ True □ False 2. What colour is a polar bear’s skin? □ White □ Bronze □ Pink □ Black 3. Which of these items is considered to be Britain’s earliest public record? □ The Magna Carta □ The Domesday Book □ The Acts of Union □ The Bayeux Tapestry 4. True or false? There’s a scientific difference between toadstools and mushrooms. □ True □ False 5. Which European capital got its name when cities on opposite banks of the Danube were unified? □ Budapest □ Sarajevo □ Bucharest □ Berlin 6. In the novel by Miguel de Cervantes, what is the name of Don Quixote’s squire? □ Hidalgo □ Sancho Panza □ Carpanta □ Don Juan 7. Merlin, lanner, prairie and kestrel are all birds of what group? □ Eagles □ Owls □ Falcons □ Hawks 8. A special set of heated tongs is traditionally used…

3 min
throwing their toys

I have several big-picture theories about humans and the lives we lead. One is that insecurity is the most powerful force in the cosmos. Identify the source, intensity and expression of the insecurities present in any given human interaction and you’ll have travelled most of the way to understanding it. Another is that squirrels are amazing animals that will someday rule the Earth as twitchy but benevolent despots. I know there are no squirrels in New Zealand, and I think you’ve all done incredibly well making it such a lovely place in their absence. A third theory – and the one we’ll be discussing today – is that somewhere between 88% and 94% of all human activity is undertaken with one goal in mind: getting attention. We need lots of things,…