This week, we looked at the schools of last resort that for at-risk youth, what it takes to fix up a busted road after a big storm, how the Hollywood writers’ strike has been impacting the New Zealand screen industry, the historic flooding threatening the Rotorua lakes, and why more and more city centres are banning cars.

Whakarongo mai to any episodes you might have missed.


‘Set up to fail’: The alternative education problem

If they are either kicked out, or unable to cope with school, when a young student has nowhere else to go, they can still go to alternative education.

And about 2000 young people each year, about 1 percent of all learners, do.

Less than one in 10 students who go through alternative education achieve NCEA Level 2, an ERO report has found. Photo: Getty Images

But the Education Review Office last week released a scathing report into the state of alternative education, highlighting the programmes’ inadequate funding and poor outcomes for students.

Tom Kitchin speaks to the head teacher at a Taranaki-based alternative education provider, Christina Galley, and education researcher and consultant Judy Bruce.


What it takes to get a road back open

Slip after slip, crack after crack – storm damage and road closures are becoming business as usual for many state highways across Aotearoa.

Part of State Highway 25A in Coromandel completely disappeared after storms and cyclones earlier this year. Photo: RNZ/Nick Monro

Waka Kotahi’s Bay of Plenty and Waikato maintenance and operations manager Rob Campbell says it’s a “big challenge” keeping the network running.

“We’ve got a very large programme of maintenance and operational works going on all of the time and that keeps us very, very busy. And then add on to that things like the cyclones coming through, storms, events that happen on the highway [like] accidents.”

Tom Kitchin finds out what it takes to get a road back in order.


The impact of the Hollywood writers’ strike on NZ

Filmmaker Tom Burstyn should be in Vancouver right now, working on the third season of the Apple TV alien sci-fi series Invasion.

The Hollywood writers’ strike has crept into a third month – and there’s no end in sight. Photo: Getty Images

Instead, he’s at home in Hawkes Bay, writing a book and screenplay about the extraordinary lives of his parents.

Filming of Invasion is held up by the Hollywood writers’ strike, now in its third month – with no sign of a resolution.

Sharon Brettkelly speaks to Burstyn and the New Zealand Film Commission’s Philippa Mossman about the far-reaching effects of the Writers Guild schism.


‘A slow-moving disaster’: Rotorua lakes full to bursting

For many who own property around the lakes near Rotorua, it was a dream to live so close to the water’s edge. But now, instead of the lake lapping at their doorsteps, it’s in their houses.

Months and months of heavy rain means many of the lakes around Rotorua are reaching levels not seen in 50 years, flooding nearby boat ramps, playgrounds and properties.

Sharon Brettkelly is on the ground in the Rotorua lakes district speaking to locals affected by the historic water levels.


Why city centres are going car-free

The ironically-named Let’s Get Wellington Moving was nearly stopped in its tracks last week when Wellington City Councillors moved an unsuccessful motion of no confidence in the nearly $8 billion project.

Wellington’s Golden Mile is home to approximately 30 percent of the city centre’s retail. Photo: Lynn Grieveson

An ambitious, far-reaching rethink of the capital city’s transport systems, Let’s Get Wellington Moving would introduce a second Mt Victoria tunnel, light rail from the city centre to Island Bay, and a range of safety and infrastructure improvements across the region – all in the name of reducing emissions and crunching down on congestion.

Councillors had a range of trepidations, but one part of the plan was particularly unpopular: banning cars from Wellington’s Golden Mile.

Tom Kitchin finds out why more and more cities are pedestrianising, and why people are so resistant.


Long Read: Bone Hunters

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

The skull of a 16-million-year-old duck found in St Bathans. Photo: George Driver/North & South

This week, it’s an abridged version of ‘Bone Hunters: The ancient lake revealing New Zealand’s mysterious past’, written by George Driver and published in the July issue of North & South magazine.

You can get the full story, including photos, in July’s issue of North & South, or read it online here.

Beneath famously dry Central Otago are the remains of an enormous, ancient subtropical lake that was once home to crocodilians, turtles, giant parrots, bipedal vampire bats and palm trees. The kilometre-thick layer of lake bed is helping to unravel the mystery of our bizarre land of birds.​

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