This week, we looked back at the aftermath of the Whakaari eruption in light of the WorkSafe trial starting, the diplomatic and scientific sparring over Japan’s dumping of Fukushima wastewater into the Pacific, cluster bombs and why human rights workers are pleading against their use in the Russian-Ukrainian war, and why the Seven Sisters constellation myth might be the oldest story in the world.

Whakarongo mai to any episodes you might have missed.


Heroes in the spotlight at White Island trial

The trial of six parties over the Whakaari White Island eruption began this week, another brutal reminder of the catastrophic day in December 2019.

The trial for parties involved with the tragedy on Whakaari/White Island begins this week. Photo: Getty Images

Everyone in the Bay of Plenty town of Whakatāne was linked to the tragedy, from the whānau of victims, to the first responders and the medical teams at hospital, council and emergency workers, business owners affected by the initial tourism decline and the iwi, Ngāti Awa.

Sharon Brettkelly speaks to RNZ journalist Amy Williams, former Whakatāne mayor Judy Turner, and former chair of the Ngāti Awa Trust Joe Harawira.


Safe or septic – Japan’s nuclear wastewater dumping

Japan has plans to dump nuclear wastewater in the Pacific Ocean from the Fukushima nuclear power plant, which was destroyed in a tsunami and earthquake in March 2011. 

Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station in Japan. Photo: Getty Images

The issue is causing a few headaches diplomatically – and debates around whether the science says it’s safe or not.

Tom Kitchin speaks to physicist Dr David Krofcheck and journalist Nic Maclellan.


Ukraine’s cluster bombs will leave a hideous legacy

When the US announced it would send controversial cluster bombs to Ukraine, it caused a global outrage.

When a cluster munition is fired from a rocket or aircraft, it opens out in midair and releases smaller, sub-munitions. Depending on the type, one munition can release anything from two to 100 sub munitions – and a high number of the submunitions do not detonate when they land.

“Because they fail to detonate they essentially lie in wait, so they become a land mine,” says Auckland University associate law professor Treasa Dunworth, who specialises in disarmament law.

Sharon Brettkelly speaks to Dunworth, politics professor Stephen Hoadley, and Human Rights’ Watch’s Mary Wareham.


In Japan, it is called Subaru. Not a car, but the name of a star cluster.

In India, it is Krittika. Here in Aotearoa, it is Matariki.

Matariki will be celebrated as a national public holiday for the second time in New Zealand’s history on Friday 14 July 2023. Photo: Public Domain, ex NASA

They are all versions of the Pleiades – or Seven Sisters myth about seven young girls being chased by a man associated with the Orion constellation.

The story is so similar in vastly different cultures that it has inspired astrophysicist Ray Norris to explore whether it could be our oldest, perhaps originating in Africa 100,000 years ago.


Long Read: The Flames of Our Shame

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

Tributes to those killed in the Loafers Lodge fire in a bus stop on Adelaide Road. Photo: Max Rashbrooke/North & South

This week, it’s The Flames of Our Shame, written and read here by Max Rashbrooke.

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

The fatal fire at Wellington’s Loafers Lodge has reinforced calls for greater scrutiny of boarding houses, places occupied by those with nowhere else to go. But, as Max Rashbrooke reveals, red flags have been raised about the state of New Zealand’s boarding house stock time and time again.


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