The Alpine Fault is marked out on satellite images by the western edge of the Southern Alps snowline. Photo: Nasa

This week, we looked at the vexed problem of vaping as our Smokefree 2025 goal gets closer, how West Coast communities are preparing for the looming threat of a big quake on the Alpine Fault, the controversial ‘Mr Big’ police tactic and its use in New Zealand, the hidden hazards accumulating in scrap metal yards, and the dilemma sports fans face as more codes and competitions enter ethically murky territory. Plus, a new edition of the weekend Long Read.

Whakarongo mai to any episodes you might have missed.


First, a smoke-free generation – next, a vape-free one?

By the end of 2025, less than 5 percent of New Zealanders will be smokers, if the Smokefree Aotearoa goal works out.

Fancy flavour names for vape products are on the way out, under the Government’s new proposals. Photo: RNZ

And, with what are seen as some of the harshest laws in the world, there’s a lifetime ban on young people born on or after January 1, 2009 buying cigarettes – meaning a whole generation of Kiwis will be tobacco-free.

While our rangatahi might not ever take up smoking thanks to the tough legislation, there are doubts new vaping rules are strong enough to stop the alarming rise in young vapers and, ultimately, turn the numbers around.  

Sharon Brettkelly speaks to co-directors of smoking and vaping research centre Aspire Aotearoa Janet Hoek and Anaru Waa.


Preparing for the big quake on the Alpine Fault

A big earthquake on the Alpine Fault is overdue and one expert says it’s New Zealand’s “big elephant in the room”.

Tom Kitchin speaks to John Townend, a professor of geophysics at Victoria University, who’s leading two new research projects to find out more about how a quake might unfold.

Kitchin also hears from Buller Mayor Jamie Cleine, who tells The Detail about the work being done on the ground in West Coast towns to prepare residents for the big one.


Behind the story: Mr Lyttle Meets Mr Big

When all other avenues have failed, Mr Big stings can help the police get criminals to confess.

Mr Lyttle Meets Mr Big takes the listener into Whanganui, from where David Lyttle’s friend Brett Hall disappeared in 2011. Photo: RNZ/Ebony Lamb

The police create a fake criminal gang, which they encourage the suspect to join. Once they’ve built a relationship with the suspect, they try to elicit a confession. It’s a controversial tactic: it takes months to create this web of lies, and if they get the confession, there’s a risk it can’t be relied on in court – and a risk the confession is fake altogether.

A new RNZ podcast, Mr Lyttle Meets Mr Big, lays bare how Mr Big operations work – and how they can can go awry.

Tom Kitchin speaks to host Stephen Little and executive producer Justin Gregory.


The hidden hazards in scrap metal yards

Your head’s swivelling, checking front and back, and looking overhead for any movement. You’re listening for creaks and groans, and trying to stay calm, all while breathing through a respirator. 

Toxic smoke from a fire at Sims Metal on James Fletcher Drive in south Auckland on May 31, 2023. Photo: RNZ/Felix Walton

That’s how fire investigator Pete Gallagher describes the hazards of going deep into a pile of scrap metal to probe the cause of a fire.

blaze last month at the Sims Metal scrap yard in Favona, South Auckland caused widespread disruption to people’s lives, burning for 30 hours and sending toxic smoke into the air across parts of the city.

The cause of the fire is still not known, but it highlights the many hazards the industry faces – and the growing complexities of managing scrapyards.

Sharon speaks to Gallagher, and to New Zealand Association of Metal Recyclers board member Korina Kirk.


Sports fans and the uncomfortable questions about sportswashing

Today, sportswashing is synonymous with Saudi Arabia. The nation, with a dubious human rights record, has thrown enormous financial backing behind the LIV Golf tournament, Formula One racing, and even purchased English football team Newcastle United.

Golfer Phil Mickelson is one of many established players who signed on to play the Saudi-backed LIV Golf tournament. Photo: Getty Images

But, as Sharon Brettkelly finds out, propaganda through sports is as old as civilisation itself: from Alexander the Great’s first Olympic games in ancient Greece, to the 1975 “Thrilla in Manila” boxing match between Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier.

As sportswashing continues its creep into different codes and competitions, with increasingly eye-watering deals being done, where does it leave the fans?

Brettkelly speaks to sports and tourism researcher James Higham and sports journalist Trevor McKewen.


Long Read: Homeward Bound

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

In the largest single repatriation of Moriori remains to date, more than a hundred ancestors were returned by London’s Natural History Museum last July. Photo: Te Papa

This week, it’s Homeward Bound, written by Veronika Meduna and published in North & South‘s June issue.

Hear the story of the mission to repatriate kōimi t’chakat (Moriori skeletal remains) from all across the world. At the end, The Detail‘s Alexia Russell is joined by Maui Solomon, the tribe’s chief negotiator and lifelong advocate of the revitalisation of Moriori culture.

You can read the full article here.

Moriori await the final return to the Chatham Islands of human remains recovered from institutions around the world.


Check out how to listen to and follow The Detail here.  

You can also stay up-to-date by liking us on Facebook or following us on Twitter

Leave a comment