Despair and contempt: What it's like to seek an abortion

His manner is strange from the get-go. He doesn’t look me in the eye; he looks at his desk or off to the side of me as if I’m not really there.

And somehow, within two minutes of my arrival in this small, brown office in a provincial family medical centre, after briefly inquiring about my family medical history and without asking me why I want an abortion, he tells me I don’t meet the criteria. He won’t certify the abortion, because “this is not, and should not be, an abortion on demand society”.

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Greener pastures

THE SUN SETS over the Clutha Valley, staining the snow on the Pisa Range strawberry-pink. Outside a fruit-packing shed on the outskirts of Cromwell, melancholy music rises through the chill autumn air. A group of men strum guitars and ukuleles over the thud of the bush bass—a large wooden box with a pole and a string that is plucked. Their harmonised voices form sweet, ephemeral chords full of longing. These are songs of a tropical home, the kind sung by those in exile.

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Synthetic drugs and a hot car: The 'bad dream' life and death of baby Isaiah Neil

In one lengthy email to CYF in September 2013, a notification from the relative compared the unsafe home environment to one of New Zealand's worst cases of child abuse.
"The ineffective parenting or caregiving, the immaturity of the caregivers, drugs, alcohol and violence, turning a blind eye and creating a culture of silence . . . I am afraid these children will become another victim of our inability to act," she wrote.
"If they are not the next Nia Glassie, then they will be."

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Being young and Muslim in New Zealand

“I suffer as much as anyone does from ISIS because my family live in Iraq. They absolutely hate ISIS because they’ve made our lives a living hell.”

Hela hears her parents crying on the phone talking to relatives overseas, but she feels people don’t see Muslims as victims.

“Sometimes it feels like we’re Muslim before we’re human. We’re Muslim before we’re anything else.”

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A recipe for kindness: teaching baking behind prison bars

We don't ask why they're here. Instead, we help them through the first recipe. For many of these guys, basic skills like properly measuring a cup of flour have to be taught – but they're happy to learn.

And we talk about what we do in the community, and that their baking is going to women's refuges.

One baker, Kahu*, nervously asks if the women know who it's coming from – they do.

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My last ever drink - why I gave up even though booze never gave up on me

By the end of my decade and a half long bender, the shakes were bad enough I couldn't get the first couple of drinks from glass to mouth without spilling it everywhere. The trick was to make a quick diversion home en route from work to pub, improvise a sling from a bath-towel or t-shirt to hold one arm steadily in place, and wrestle to my lips a sufficient quantity to quell the shakes: precisely two cans of beer.

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Are confidentiality agreements letting sexual harassers off the hook?

The Listener wanted to ask Kelli Balani about her case, her reaction to it and advice for other women in her position, but she is bound by a confidentiality agreement. Indeed, lawyers and investigators we interviewed for this story said confidentiality provisions surround almost every complaint of sexual harassment. Ostensibly, this is to protect the privacy of the victim, but recent high-profile cases have made it increasingly clear that such agreements are also allowing the perpetrators to emerge with their reputations intact and silencing those who might wish to warn others of their behaviour.

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Why being made redundant in NZ is so tough

On 15 May 2009, Jack Taylor was an employee in the cutting room at Christchurch clothing manufacturer Lane Walker Rudkin. It was a Friday, when staff worked a half day. Not long before their shift ended, the 350 staff were divided into two groups and, like lambs to the slaughter, directed to different rooms. The receivers had been called in and the company would be folding, they were told. Workers in one room were given notice their jobs would end later that year. Those in the other room, including Taylor, were told their jobs would not exist past 12:30pm that day. "We were told to go to our lockers, take our personal gear, and leave the premises," Taylor says.

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The gap between the rich and poor at university

"People in New Zealand believe - and want to believe - it's an open society. It's something New Zealanders hold close to them," says Alan France, a sociology professor at Auckland University and an expert on class and youth.

"It's a view and has always been a view that New Zealand rejected the traditional class systems of the UK and tried to set up alternative systems. But all they did was create a new system based on land and property rather than work."

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One night in Auckland

Outside the casino, the moneyed and the desperate smoked in the light of the Sky Tower; across the street the secondary industry of the pawnshop had shuttered for the evening. A young Asian man spat heavily into an outdoor ashtray, the Pakeha woman next to him, with a lifetime smoker’s deep wrinkles, looked up from her phone in disgust. An American man in an Aertex shirt described his new cross-trainers to a female companion: “You’re a woman, you wouldn’t understand.”

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