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Bonnie Harrison

The Week in Detail: West Coast's blue flip and hazing rituals

Damien O'Connor and Maureen Pugh. Photo: RNZ/Angus Dreaver and Samuel Rillstone

Every weekday, The Detail makes sense of the big news stories.

This week, the latest movements on Covid-19, the unanswered questions from election night, why experts have so little hope for a peaceful solution in the Middle East, the West Coast's shock defection to the National Party, and a spotlight on Otago University's at times extreme hazing culture.

Whakarongo mai to any episodes you might have missed.


Covid: Still here, still deadly

Every week we see thousands of cases, hundreds lying in hospital beds, and around 20 deaths. 

Sorry to say it, but Covid-19 is still alive and kicking. 

"It's a bit like an unwelcome guest that no one wants to talk about, but it hasn't gone away, that's for sure,'' University of Otago epidemiologist Professor Michael Baker tells The Detail

University of Otago epidemiologist Michael Baker. Photo: Supplied

"It's our number one infectious disease threat... it's really displaced influenza as our biggest single infectious disease killer."

Tom Kitchin gets an update on the virus from Baker and vaccinologist Helen Petousis-Harris.


Election '23: The hangover

The election is over, we've had a crucial win at the Rugby World Cup, it's springtime, and the cost of a caulflower has dropped to $3.99. Surely all sound reasons to be in a good mood and get over our bitter divisions.

Incoming Prime Minister Christopher Luxon. Photo: Getty Images

Yes and no, says Peter Dunne, political pundit, former government minister and United Future party leader.

A World Cup win by the All Blacks will be an important rallying point but a short-term factor. But Prime Minister-in-waiting Christopher Luxon has a "glorious opportunity to put the past behind him" and unite the country.

And there's still a lot we don't know post-election day. Sharon Brettkelly asks Dunne the lingering questions from Saturday night.


Israel v Hamas: The war without end

Nearly two weeks after Hamas launched a massive attack on Israel, international attention has turned to the hundreds of thousands of Gazans forced to flee their homes before an imminent Israeli invasion. 

A Palestinian walks on the rubble of a tower destroyed in an Israeli air strike in Gaza City, on October 7. Photo: Getty Images

Response to the disaster has been far-reaching, from the top levels of the US government, to protests in cities around the world. Yesterday, there was some relief after the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced an agreement to develop an aid plan for civilians in Gaza, without benefitting Hamas.

The breakthrough comes as aid agencies describe the situation as "humanitarian collapse".

Sharon Brettkelly looks at what was behind the attack, what it would take to get a ceasefire, and how the media has covered the conflict, with Auckland University associate professor of politics and international relations Stephen Hoadley.


The West Coast's surprising shade of blue

The West Coast-Tasman electorate – home to the spiritual birthplace of the Labour Party – is one electorate that few pundits picked to change allegiance this election.

It's due to go blue if National's candidate Maureen Pugh's majority of 915 isn't flipped by the special votes.

Yes, that's the Maureen Pugh of Simon Bridges' " useless" insult.

Tom Kitchin speaks to Reefton-based Newsroom journalist Lois Williams and Buller District mayor Jamie Cleine about the history of the area and what's happened in the past six years for voters to flip the switch so dramatically.


Otago's extreme student initiations

Holding eels up like a trophy prize, eating the feet off a live duck, passing out in a wheelie bin while you're smoking.

Where University of Otago students have gathered, the police are not far behind. Photo: RNZ/Supplied

These are some of the crazy stories about Otago University flat initiations that've been hitting the headlines recently.

Tom Kitchin talks to Fox Meyer, editor of the student-run magazine Critic Te Ārohi, and also to the director of the classic Otago student film 'Scarfies' Rob Sarkies about what these initiations are all about and what could be done to reduce the harm.


Long Read: There and back again

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

Photo: Giselle Clarkson/NZ Geographic

This week, 'There and back again' by Kate Evans, published in New Zealand Geographic magazine's September-October issue.

How do animals know where they’re going? Humans have been puzzling over the mysteries of migration and navigation for centuries, and our ideas about it have gone from absolutely wild to only slightly less so. ​


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