Ricky Houghton and the whare that love built

Many of the children abused in state care facilities over the past 40 years have grown up lost in the system. Ricky Houghton decided to overthrow the system completely.



The week's best-selling books at the Unity Books stores in High St, Auckland, and Willis St, Wellington.

We're rocketing towards the ending of season two of The Handmaid's Tale, and Gilead is not letting up one bit. Tara Ward recaps.


The Best Of

John Summers gets to grips with one of the year's most popular books, a self-help guide to feeling good, deciding what's really important in your life, and "banging blondes": The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck.

Spinoff Parents editor Emily Writes is giving out advice again. Watch out.

The Peach Teats billboard is a legitimate cult classic. Toby Morris meets the artist responsible for State Highway 1's favourite cheeky calf.


Much of the David Seymour's support on DWTS is said to be coming from young people. But why? We asked a real-life teenager to explain.

We provide live updates as the country anticipates the arrival of the prime minister's baby.

When the US state throws children into cages, we are firmly at the point in history where future generations might ask, ‘what would I have done?’

The almost-prime-minister has been answering a lot of questions across the last 24 hours, as only he can.

We watch Winston Peters address the press as the nearly-acting-prime-minister


Climate change is not a partisan issue, and the need to take big steps to reduce emissions is urgent.

Phil Twyford called meth use a “health issue” this morning, and said his Housing NZ would not make people homeless. Good words and true. So why is his government still locking addicts up?

Alex Casey goes for a stroll on the foot-shaped sands of Heartbreak Island, week two.

The Real Pod assembles to dissect the week in New Zealand pop culture and real life, with special thanks to Nando’s.

On Lightbox Premium, you can download Lightbox content to your mobile device. We asked our colleagues for their picks to watch on your next commute – no matter the length.


It's a wintry theme this week on a Cato-less Dancing with the Stars. Who adjusts to the winter chill and who is left out in the cold? These puns and more in week eight's power rankings.

It's week nine of Survivor NZ, and with only nine castaways left we’re starting to see old alliances fall apart, as new partnerships form.

GDP came out today, and it was fine – but that's yesterday's sales. The real question is, how does business feel about the future?

This week on The Primer we look at Method Recycling which looks to encourage better waste disposal habits by making beautifully designed rubbish bins for modern workplaces.

Fonterra rejects claims by Chinese media that formula maker Beingmate reportedly failed to check additives came from licensed suppliers.


With up to 80% of faulty heaters still on the market, is the recall system in need of a major shake-up? 

Facebook knows everything about you, and by extension, so do a million marketers and corporations. And now so do I

How do 'New Zealand’s fourth most popular folk duo’ stack up in the history of New Zealand live performers?

Excusing XXXTentacion's behaviour and showing support for him because he has passed away tells domestic and sexual assault survivors in your life that you don’t care.

Why some men are paying Princess Chelsea hundreds of dollars for one song.


Yesterday, Beyoncé and Jay-Z's album 'Everything Is Love' was released with no warning. Is it good?

Rapper Lukas and beatmaker LMC have come together to create the perfect downbeat tune for the season, matched by an equally striking music video.

Staff Writers

Just on the offchance anyone is looking for a name for their newborn

What will they name the New Zealand Royal Baby? It's one of the hardest decisions parents make, so we at The Spinoff Parents thought we would help. 

Read on.

Practical steps to take right now if you're appalled at the news coming out of the United States.

Our Climate, Your Say is the government's invitation for public input on its Zero Carbon Bill. Climate campaigner (and former Green Party co-leader) Jeanette Fizsimons explains what she'll be telling them.

"God damn, that horse is beautiful." Townie Ra Pomare heads to the country's biggest expo of rural life.


Community activists in Tauranga staged a hikoi today to protest a by-law prohibiting beggars and rough sleepers in the CBD.

It is misleading to suggest we've lost touch with the membership, counters YHA head Mark Wells.

The Spinoff parents editor's letter to Jacinda Ardern and Clarke Gayford on the birth of their first child.

Is it Normal is the Spinoff Parents advice column. Today we're looking at poo and we have expert help from toilet training expert Laura Morley.

Since becoming an at-home father, Adam Mamo has been on a desperate search for his masculinity – after all, he keeps being told it's gone missing.


Ash Peters is passing on her love of mountain biking to hundreds of families around the Wellington region. She spoke about how her charity is reaching all sorts of families who haven’t been on the trails before.

There's a lot of horrible children's TV out there, but the most horrible of all are the shows with unbearable theme songs. These are the worst of the worst.

The government’s inquiry into mental health and addiction, announced in January, travels to Whanganui this week, home of the mental health worker who changed Jason Rene’s life.

Historian Vincent O'Malley conducted his own survey over the weekend on what people did and didn't learn about New Zealand history at school. The results, no matter how unscientific, still paint a clear picture.

Jason Te Kare grew up watching his mum raise and love at-risk youths in their family home. The director of new prison-based play CELLFISH talks about learning how to live a compassionate life.


Māori are in the process of choosing which electoral roll to vote from. Simon Day spoke to Dr Paerau Warbrick about what that decision means. 

The calls happen every year now for Matariki to be turned into a public holiday. Soon they will be too loud to ignore.

This World Refugee Day and always, I hope the portraits and voices of our resettled community in Aotearoa can guide us in our efforts to ensure they feel valued

According to numerous reports, close to half of the Auckland Council have signed a letter expressing 'no confidence' in Phil Goff. 

Toby Manhire tries the freshly launched burger at vegan fast food outfit Lord of the Flies


The speedway is leaving Western Springs. We explain where it's going and what's going to take its place.

The organiser calls him the 'idiot guy who don't know anything about festival'. But that won't deter our reporter from heading along to see what this mysterious event really amounts to.

Has there ever been a good pretend Kiwi accent on screen? Like, ever? Madeleine Chapman searches far and wide for one, just one, decent New Zealand accent.

The Spinoff TV's Ra Pomare and Angella Dravid discuss the big First Baby news.

Bringing you the best weekly reading from your friendly local website.


Ever wondered why some random always leaves the same emoji on your photos?

In today's Kiwis of Snapchat, Paula Bennett has a modest proposal for the country.

This year’s E3 was quite possibly the gayest E3 ever. Of course, Sony’s naughty kiss was one of the main head-turners, but there was a lot more simmering under the surface during the 2018 expo.

“In Dungeons and Dragons are dogs, dogs? Or are they like, esteemed members of the community?”

E3 is a whirlwind of press conferences, trailers and gamer reactions, and so much happens that it's almost impossible to keep up with it all. Sam Brooks has your essential E3 cheat sheet.


Nintendo had their E3 press conference today – and obviously the most important part was who's being added to the new Super Smash Bros. game. Sam Brooks takes a look at the new characters.

The new trailer for the much-anticipated latest entry in the Final Fantasy/Disney crossover series Kingdom Hearts premiered at E3 today.

As the deadline looms for the 2018 Surrey Hotel writers residency award, 2017 winner Charlotte Graham-McLay files a report on her experience at the Surrey. She danced a lot.

Matt Vance reviews an investigation into "the freaks, maniacs and the greed-addled madmen" who obsessively collect, plunder and steal bird specimens.

He viewed Greymouth as "sub-human", rather wished James K Baxter would STFU, and regarded the poetry of "plump and round" Bill Manhire as "promising". A new book shares the 1968 diary of Landfall founder Charles Brasch.


New verse by Eastbourne writer Maggie Rainey-Smith.

The week's best-sellers at the Unity Books stores in Willis St, Wellington, and High St, Auckland.

Recently appointed co-director of the MacDiarmid Institute Dr. Nicola Gaston's new role allows her to guide one of New Zealand's top science institutes to potentially world-leading research.

Siouxsie Wiles celebrates the announcement that Juliet Gerrard will be the next prime minister's chief science advisor

While the meth testing scheme has been proven to be a rort, the dangers of lead contamination in homes is still very real.


People keep dying in police pursuits. Despite this repeated cycle of calls for change, has anything actually changed?

We have a lot of work to do to achieve carbon neutrality in just over three decades. Attention needs to focus on the likes of cars, trees, batteries and farms, writes energy analyst Briony Bennett.

This week Simon is joined by Bridget Hawkins, CEO of Regen, an app helping to drive efficiency on farms.

The typical Kiwi farmer is swapping their roll of Number 8 wire for a smartphone and robotics. At Fieldays 2018 Angela Cuming discovered the technology and science solving many of the challenges facing the industry.

This week Simon talks to Tim Lightbourne about how he built a wine company – with the help of Graham Norton.


The Real Pod assembles to dissect the week in New Zealand pop culture and real life, with special thanks to Nando’s.

Simon Pound talks to Angie Judge about how she's changing a thousands of years-old industry.

Once Auckland's retail centre, K' Road is on its way back to being a thriving retail centre where people want to live. Henry Oliver went to look at one new addition to K' Road's continual evolution.

We're rocketing towards the ending of season two of The Handmaid's Tale, and Gilead is not letting up one bit. Tara Ward recaps.

Wellington's party experts share their tips on how to nail your next gig. 


One of the best reasons for lighting the Auckland Harbour Bridge is that is makes diversity impossible to ignore.

From the moment he arrived in Italy to play rugby Sir John Kirwan fell in love with the food and wine. He spoke to Simon Day about bringing a taste of his corner of the country back to New Zealand. 

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