This week, the review into New Zealand’s Covid response bubbling in the background, Auckland’s post-pandemic dog problem, a new bid to keep New Zealand’s screen industry funded competitively, Wellington’s rock-and-a-hard-place of urgent building repairs and debt ceilings, and how K-Pop is taking the country by storm.

Whakarongo mai to any episodes you might have missed.

The quiet inquiry

Hundreds of people have spoken about their experiences of the pandemic at an inquiry into New Zealand’s handling of Covid-19, yet we’ve hardly heard a thing about it.

Tony Blakely is the chair of the NZ Royal Commission Inquiry into Covid-19. Photo: Billy Wong/University of Auckland

It will go through some of the most painful and controversial parts of the nation’s response, including border controls and vaccine rollout. And unlike the controversy-filled public hearings at a similar inquiry in the UK, much of the evidence gathered here, and the people involved, will stay private.

Sharon Brettkelly finds out more from Commission Chair Professor Tony Blakely.

Pandemic pets now left to their own devices

They’re our faithful companions –  but leave them on their own too much and they become dangerous.

A husky patiently waiting in Auckland Council’s Henderson shelter. Photo: Tom Kitchin / The Detail

The number of dogs in New Zealand has risen dramatically, leading to more dogs in the pound and more dog attacks.

Tom Kitchin visits Auckland Council’s Henderson animal shelter to find out what’s caused the problems.

NZ’s screen industry wants a slice of the Netflix pie

Local film and TV producers will be celebrating some big wins when they gather for their guild’s annual conference in Wellington this week. 

After the Party, TV series written by Dianne Taylor, starring Robyn Malcolm Photo: Mark Rogers

Among their productions are box office hits, awards, and new shows like After The Party starring Robyn Malcolm, which are being snapped up overseas.

That’s the positive side of things but there’s a serious message at the conference and it is directed at the new government: it’s time to target the big, rich, international streamers to help keep the local sector healthy.

Sharon Brettkelly speaks to Screen Production and Development Association (SPADA) president Irene Gardiner and The Spinoff‘s Duncan Greive.

Wellington’s microfractures and macrofinances

The cracks are showing in our cool little capital. 

Earthquakes themselves are not strictly to blame, but strict new earthquake rules relating to the strengthening of buildings are straining Wellington’s budget.

Wellington councillors have agreed to pour more money into repairing the Town Hall to meet the potential final refurbishment cost of around $330 million. Photo: Wellington City Council

On top of that, the job of fixing ageing infrastructure is a massive one, which city councillors discovered when they tried to make the books balance at their marathon long term plan meeting last week.

Wellington is not alone. All 78 councils around the country are facing financial stress, and they can’t keep borrowing to pay for desperately needed upgrades. 

Tom Kitchin talks to The Spinoff‘s Wellington editor Joel MacManus and former Tauranga mayor and Local Government New Zealand president Stuart Crosby.

K-Pop dances its way across the globe

It’s a manufactured sound from a pop machine in South Korea, fronted by idols who can spend years learning the craft and dieting to perfect their looks.

Members of Kard dance to their song “Icky” with fans in Auckland’s Freyberg Square. Photo: Tom Kitchin/The Detail

And New Zealand boasts a dedicated clutch of fans – a clutch that grows bigger every day.

Tom Kitchin went out to a “random dance play” in Auckland with some K-Pop stars to learn more about the craze sweeping Aotearoa.

Long Read: The Badjelly Chronicles

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

Photo: Supplied

This week, it’s ‘The Badjelly Chronicles’, written by self-proclaimed ‘Badjellyologist’ Gemma Gracewood and published at The Sapling.

To celebrate 50 years of Badjelly the Witch, Gemma joins Alexia Russell to read episodes one and two of her five-part series, and talk all things Badjelly: from the story’s humble origins as a bedtime story, to author Spike Milligan’s electric radio improvisation skills in front of a live orchestra, and – of course – ‘knickers, knickers, knickers!’

In this five-part series, Gemma Gracewood adventures through the many iterations of Spike Milligan’s Badjelly the Witch to find out why New Zealand loves her the most, and why the U.K. might finally be ready to embrace their long-neglected wickedest witch.

Leave a comment