This week, we visited a school championing the benefits of open plan classrooms, talked to two New Zealand musicians about how they make a living, covered the controversy over Team NZ’s planned regatta in Saudi Arabia, spoke to the philanthropist who gave $10 million to a university to produce the research he wanted, and looked at why local councils want to sell their big, money-making assets.

Whakarongo mai to any episodes you might have missed.


A different way of learning

It’s a school built on the old runway of an air force base, where classes are called modules or spins, teachers are coaches, and there’s a list of expectations instead of rules.

Welcome to Hobsonville Point Secondary School, a model for modern learning environments, or open plan classrooms.

The outgoing principal of Hobsonville Point Secondary School Maurie Abraham says despite the negative headlines, most kids are doing well in school. Photo: Sharon Brettkelly

“We’ve got a real strong drive to create an environment where it’s safe for those journeying through adolescence to practise being adults, rather than being focused on controlling kids to the nth degree,” says Maurie Abraham, the founding principal of the 10-year-old school in Auckland’s north west.

At this school that means no uniforms, no bells, and everyone is on first name terms. 

Sharon Brettkelly pays a visit to the school – and speaks to some of the students to get their take on how the model is working.


Music: Where the money comes from

With record sales dwindling and streaming only bringing in tiny amounts of cash, it might seem near impossible to make any money in the world of music.

For the artists Matt Harvey represents, about 80 percent of the money comes from touring, and the rest is from record sales and streaming. Photo: Getty Images

For New Zealand Music Month, Tom Kitchin spoke to two people making a living in the local music scene – Lyttelton-based singer-songwriter Mel Parsons and artist-turned-manager Matt Harvey.


Money or morals? Team NZ, Saudi Arabia and sportswashing

Team New Zealand’s pre-America’s Cup regatta in Saudi Arabia has started sinking with the refusal of the New York Yacht Club’s entry, American Magic, to race in Jeddah

Alexia Russell asks, in chasing the money, is Team New Zealand losing the country? 

Human rights groups, and Kiwi sailors, are angry one of the preliminary regattas has gone to a country known for sports-washing its way out of human rights abuses – using vast sums of money to lure sports events and stars with offers they can’t ignore. 


The stand-off between a philanthropist and Victoria University

A clash between two philanthropists and a well-regarded research institute over a $10 million donation highlights the dire financial situation faced by universities and the pressure they’re under to do what donors want.

Photo: Lynn Grieveson

Christchurch couple Grant and Marilyn Nelson gave the money to the Institute for Governance and Policy Studies at Victoria University of Wellington several years ago, they say so it could carry out work on political party donations and lobbying.

Sharon Brettkelly speaks to NZ Herald deputy political editor Thomas Coughlan, BusinessDesk journalist Greg Hurrell, and gets Grant Nelson’s side of the story.


Why local councils want to sell their assets

Auckland Council is facing a budget hole of $375 million, and one of the options on the table is a complete or partial selldown of the council’s 18 percent stake in the airport.

That could raise close to $2 billion.

Auckland Council is facing a budget hole of $375 million, and one of the options on the table is a complete or partial selldown of the council’s 18 percent stake in the airport. Photo: John Sefton

Local councils across the country have huge investments like these, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, on their books. But why? And now that budgets are getting tighter, why are more of these assets on the chopping block?

Tom Kitchin speaks to Local Government New Zealand president Stuart Crosby and Newsroom‘s South Island correspondent David Williams.


Long Read: How To Save A Life

This is The Detail‘s Long Read – one in-depth story read by us every weekend.

Throughout the year, the YSAR teens attend weekly classroom-based workshops and complete homework—but it’s these weekend field exercises that are the biggest drawcard. Photo: NZ Geographic

This week, it’s How To Save A Life by Ellen Rykers, published in NZ Geographic‘s May-June issue.

You can read the full article, with accompanying photos, here.

Fifteen years ago, New Zealand Search and Rescue foresaw a crisis – its volunteers were aging, and the job is hard physical work. Enter the 176 teens of Youth Search and Rescue.


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