Our Changing World


Getting out in the field and the lab to bring you New Zealand stories about science, nature and the environment.

All Episodes

A team of scientists are installing an array of seismic sensors along the South Island's Alpine Fault. Claire Concannon joins them to find out how and why.

Dec 1

27 min 22 sec

Katy Gosset speaks to a PhD student designing new tech to catch predators and Claire Concannon meets the team who are working to restore a unique landscape on the South Island's West Coast.

Nov 24

26 min 11 sec

On the 100th anniversary of radio in Aotearoa, Claire Concannon learns about the very first broadcast, explores how radio works, and finds out about current research into communicating using light.

Nov 17

27 min 14 sec

Claire visits the team at K9 Medical Detection Charitable Trust to learn how their dogs are being trained to detect bowel and prostate cancer.

Nov 10

28 min 6 sec

Claire Concannon hits the Central Otago hills with Botany PhD student Ben Teele to imagine the landscape as it use to be, and to follow the clues to find leftover pockets of tōtara trees.

Nov 3

28 min 53 sec

Claire Concannon hears how the the New Zealand Plant Conservation Network's favourite plant competition is shaping up, while Katy Gosset learns about research to improve the quality and growth efficiency of grapevines.

Oct 27

31 min 21 sec

This week on Our Changing World, Aotearoa Science Agency's Damian Christie speaks to three scientists about the world of data.  

Oct 20

28 min 47 sec

Claire Concannon hears from Dr. Brigid Ryan of the University of Auckland about the New Zealand genetic frontotemporal dementia study and speaks to some of the family members involved in this unique research study.

Oct 13

28 min 38 sec

Stories about the potential of bioengineering to transform health care. A new tracheostomy kit design that has halved the time for emergency operations and 3D bioprinting of tissues to help healing.

Oct 6

28 min 52 sec

Stories of physics research in Antarctica - into, under, and from within the ice. Claire finds out about measuring sea ice thickness and supercooling. Katy Gosset learns how scientists detect neutrinos from outer space.

Sep 29

39 min 40 sec

Claire Concannon learns about experiments aimed at slowing Parkinson's Disease progression. Sonia Yee explores research into our perception of emotions in a mask-filled world.

Sep 22

30 min 44 sec

The return of South Island kākā to the the Ōtepoti Dunedin area has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride. Claire Concannon hears about the tragedies and the triumphs, and the plans for what comes next. 

Sep 15

28 min 2 sec

Native mangroves in Aotearoa are expanding, putting them in conflict with some local communities & councils. A wade into the research about the value of mangroves & how they are managed.

Sep 8

27 min 42 sec

Katy Gosset finds out how researchers investigate the plant penetration powers of myrtle rust. Claire Concannon speaks with the caretaker of a tropical forest and hundreds of butterflies

Sep 1

29 min 43 sec

Two stories of looking to the skies. Claire Concannon joins a hunt for planets outside of our solar system. Katy Gosset reveals the results of the annual New Zealand Garden Birds Survey.

Aug 25

31 min 43 sec

This week, how information flows in the cell from DNA to proteins, and how scientists have tapped into this to enable a new way to make vaccines using messenger RNA.  

Aug 18

26 min 34 sec

How do you find a tiny robin in a whole lot of forest? Researchers have been tracking the movements of forty North Island robins, or toutouwai, that have been reintroduced to a large reserve area near Palmerston North. Claire Concannon finds out how these Massey University researchers monitor them, and what they are learning.

Aug 11

30 min 1 sec

How do you get in the zone to achieve your very best in an activity? And does a cheering crowd help? This week, two stories about the psychology of performance - the advantages of being at home, and how to find your flow.

Aug 5

29 min 32 sec

Researchers from the University of Waikato talk about Relative Energy Deficiency in Sport (RED-S) – a condition in which athletes don't take in the right amount of calories to do the exercise they are doing. Katie Schofield & Holly Thorpe explain why the problem is much more complex than just calorie intake, and why it is important to research this condition in a multidisciplinary way.

Jul 28

26 min 52 sec

Scientific research can be thought as on a spectrum from blue sky to applied - this week, two stories that span this. Claire Concannon learns about a blue-sky research project on bacterial evolution while Katy Gosset watches testing of a new system of base isolation designed to help homes during earthquakes.

Jul 21

30 min 28 sec

On this week’s Our Changing World - how songbirds learn their song, and how researchers in the Southern Hemisphere are trying to correct a long-standing male bias in the songbird world.

Jul 14

30 min 39 sec

Mathematical equations can help us get new perspectives, but sometimes can be difficult to understand. This week, one story about how maths has helped the understanding of a enigmatic quirk of heart rate control and another on how crafts can be used to better understand maths.

Jul 7

30 min 19 sec

Researchers at the Auckland Bioengineering Institute are working on what they hope will be the first New Zealand designed Class 3 medical device – a pressure sensor for the brain, to help people with hydrocephalus. The team explain the sensor design, how it works and how they test it.

Jun 30

27 min 8 sec

Two stories of Aotearoa New Zealand conservation communities who are caring for the flora and fauna in their backyards. Claire learns about the Catlins Bats on the Map project while Katy learns about saving scurvy grass.

Jun 23

30 min 32 sec

Claire Concannon meets a group of researchers who are determined to do the best science they can, to try to help the people they love.  

Jun 16

30 min 41 sec

Two stories about science pathways - Katy Gosset heads to the University of Canterbury STEM careers fair to find out what the future might be for science students, while Claire Concannon learns about the weird world of parasite life cycles.

Jun 9

30 min 51 sec

In the series finale, Hope, we get a glimpse of what a predator-free Aotearoa could look like, and look at the breakthrough technologies and innovations taking us towards that goal.

May 30

29 min 5 sec

Community-led projects are leading the charge to halt biodiversity decline, while researchers make break-throughs in their quest to remove predators and protect borders from reinvasion.

May 23

26 min 30 sec

New Zealander’s have drawn a line in the sand, announcing they will rid the nation of rats, stoats and possums by 2050, but what will it take to get there?

May 16

27 min 12 sec

Loss looks at the devastating effect introduced mammals have had on New Zealand's unique wildlife.

May 9

27 min 2 sec

Alison Ballance revisits a favourite story from the archives: southern island sanctuary for rare birds.

May 6

31 min 13 sec

In her final trawl through the audio archives, Alison Ballance heads to Putauhinu Island, a southern sanctuary for rare birds.

May 6

32 min 8 sec

Alison Ballance revisits a 2013 feature on kauri dieback disease and talks to Nick Waipara to find out how the northern kauri forests are coping with the disease in 2021.

Apr 29

31 min 14 sec

Alison Ballance revisits a 2013 story about kauri dieback disease and gets an update of the disease's impact in 2021.

Apr 29

30 min 38 sec

Alison Ballance's foray into the vaults finds a feature on ocean acidification, The Acid Test and adds a 2021 update.

Apr 22

45 min 58 sec

In this week's retrospective, Alison Ballance revisits an ocean acidification special feature called The Acid Test.

Apr 22

31 min 57 sec

There are some familiar names as well as some new faces among the winners of the 2020 Prime Minister's Science Prizes.

Apr 15

32 min 6 sec

2020 Prime Minister's Science Prize winners talk about their research and teaching.

Apr 15

31 min 57 sec

Alison Ballance digs into Our Changing World's Antarctic treasure chest and finds part 2 of Voice of the Iceberg.

Apr 8

26 min 26 sec

Alison Ballance digs into the Our Changing World archives for an Antarctic blast from the past with Voice of the Iceberg 2: Revelation.

Apr 8

26 min 31 sec

Alsion Ballance revisits a story looking at the complexity of the 2016 Kaikōura earthquake.

Apr 1

32 min 42 sec

In this week's retrospective, Alison Ballance looks at the 'big ones': a big earthquake in Kaikōura in 2016 and a big science effort to understand it.

Apr 1

31 min 21 sec

With more than a thousand conservation stories under her waterproof parka, science journalist Alison Ballance is retiring from RNZ's Our Changing World programme. 

Mar 25

23 min 51 sec

Alison Ballance looks back at the 1,000+ stories she has made, and revisits stone-eating spotted shags and urban eagle rays

Mar 25

29 min 20 sec

Alison Ballance plays favourites from the archives - stone-eating spotted shags and urban eagle rays.

Mar 25

30 min

The story of a seabird translocation to Mana Island, involving fluffy white-faced storm petrel chicks, artificial burrows and sardine smoothies.

Mar 18

26 min 43 sec

Seabird species are being reintroduced to Mana Island to help restore the ecology of the island.

Mar 18

27 min 11 sec

The Far Out Ocean Research Collective has been surveying for whales and dolphins in the seas off Northland.

Mar 11

30 min 22 sec

Rare dolphins and whales were among the discoveries when the Far Out Ocean Research Collective surveyed the seas off Northland.

Mar 11

30 min 22 sec

Fertility researchers are developing a new way of testing IVF embryos that have too many chromosomes.

Mar 4

19 min 49 sec