An ode to Food Alley, 1992-2020

A downtown Auckland institution, the 28-year-old foodcourt Food Alley is soon to be demolished. The Spinoff visited at lunchtime the day after the news broke to see how diners and stallholders were feeling.



It's a huge call for the National leader: should he rule out working with NZ First after the 2020 election?

A firm warning to governments: they could be violating human rights if they continue to ignore the risks and consequences of climate change.


The Best Of

Last week something really weird and exciting happened to me: one of the hottest singers on the planet talked about how much something I said helped her.

After three years, Serena Williams is a champion again. Sadly not everyone was too thrilled about a mother competing.

The father-and-son team behind Zach, the medical AI that seemed too good to be true, have been condemned by an Internal Affairs investigation, which finds they engaged in 'serious wrongdoing'.


It’s a Kiwi tradition fraught with outrage, red tape and injury. It’s also really bloody fun. Alex Casey takes a look back at the evolution of the lolly scramble in New Zealand. 

A fringe political party is hoping for better returns in 2020 after adding a high profile independent lawyer to the leadership team.

Encouraging 'interventions' without addressing issues of poverty is a bit like trying to prop up a crumbling brick wall with a piece of four-by-two.

We’re recruiting a political journalist to join the press gallery in Wellington – a brand new position, made possible by our members programme.

Inspired by Winston Peters' dog and muse, Beau, a range of other dogs have urged their politician owners to get them in the Spinoff gallery. Drool away.


As the 2020 political wheels begin to turn, Brigitte Morton offers some resolutions for the leaders of the two big parties

Efforts urging the monarch to dismiss the Australian PM over his handling of the bushfire crisis provide a revealing and worrying snapshot of what good intent looks like in 2020.

Alex Casey counts down The Mad Butcher's maddest insta-breakfasts, with bonus commentary from The Butch himself. 

Embrace the many zero-alcohol drink options out there and stop bloody serving OJ.

The buffet offers up a grand opportunity to stuff one's face, but what is the best way to optimise your buffet-going experience and eat all the glorious things?


Whether you're a hungover mess, on a road trip with fractious children or just a bit hot and thirsty, ice blocks are the answer. But not all are created equal, finds Amanda Thompson.

Been wanting to join the sourdough club for ages but haven't managed to find some decades-old starter with a suitably charming backstory? Fuggeddaboutit and make your own bubbly batch, after which you can give these bagels a whirl.

Pool toys are cool for the summer, but not so cool in landfill. Alex Casey meets a woman trying to prolong the life of New Zealand's novelty inflatables.

A Wellington startup is tapping into the worldwide move away from ocean-destroying sunscreens with an all-natural product.

This week on Business is Boring, host Simon Pound talks to Bridie Picot, founder of Thing Industries and Wrappy.


Uber's habit of pushing tax rules to breaking point is the reason Terry Baucher refuses to use the ridesharing service. But price and convenience outweigh most people's moral indignation, he writes. 

Sales of environmentally friendly dental care products are steadily on the rise, but as business editor Maria Slade finds it isn’t easy being green.

Tara Ward tuned in to the first episodes of Breakfast, The AM Show, The Project NZ and Seven Sharp to find out just what the New Year would bring.

Tara Ward breaks down the full line-up for The X-Factor UK: Celebrity and we promise you'll recognise at least a few of them.

Is there a more empathetic show on television than the British teen comedy-drama Sex Education? Unlikely, writes Sam Brooks.


Tara Ward takes a deep dive into some of the most outrageous, cliched and batshit made-for-TV movies hiding away on ThreeNow. 

With less than two weeks until the premiere of The Bachelorette NZ, Alex Casey runs through the full list of male suitors. 

It can be near impossible for many New Zealanders to afford the most meagre of holidays. But there is an answer, and that answer turns out to be: go foraging berries.

It'll improve your life a tiny, tiny bit. What more do you want?

Later this year New Zealand will vote on whether to legalise cannabis, but it's far from a new idea.


While New Zealand may continue to prosper from the tourist dollar for a decade or two yet, there is the very real prospect that the climate crisis will drive international tourism down.

Those looking for an alternative to smoking are increasing going for the small pouches of leaves known as Snus.

The National Library says it is 'making room for more New Zealand and Pacific stories' and hopes the books it's purging might 'spark joy' for other people. David Larsen considers it a whacking great clear-cutting.

The only published and available best-selling indie book chart in New Zealand is the top 10 sales list recorded every week at Unity Books’ stores in High St, Auckland, and Willis St, Wellington.

A new poem by Kirikiriroa poet essa may ranapiri.


Chris Cessford welcomes a sumptuous crime story starring a 'rule-breaking badass in a sari'.

In 1931, 17 year-old Phyllis Avis Symons was buried alive by her partner in the fill from construction of Mount Victoria Tunnel. The case was a sensation, and is the focus of Andi C. Buchanan's new novel, extracted here.

On day 1,173 of the occupation at Ihumātao, a resolution looks imminent.

A group of Māori leaders have made an urgent Waitangi Tribunal claim on behalf of the Whānau Ora Commissioning Agency, and issued a biting rebuke to Jacinda Ardern and Peeni Henare.

A new programme replacing woodwork at two Hamilton intermediate schools is helping young Māori connect through the art of whakairo, or carving.


It's estimated that as many as half a million Papuans have been killed at the hands of Indonesian security forces in the past 50 years.

lNew Zealand’s first language is endangered. We can’t afford to normalise misspelling and mispronunciation any more than it already is, writes Māori Language Commissioner Rawinia Higgins.

Palmerston North-born Brent Harris’s considers himself an Australian artist, but his work is suffused with the unease and melancholia long associated with New Zealand art, cinema and music.

Summer reissue: Poet Hera Lindsay Bird celebrates the work of New Zealand artist Hannah Salmon, aka Daily Secretion, and her portraits of angry 'alpha men'.

Catch up on Two Sketches, featuring Spinoff cartoonist Toby Morris chatting and drawing with a selection of New Zealand artists.


A conversation between editors about what made an impression in New Zealand visual arts in 2019. We unpack the highs and lows, and the exhibitions both naughty and nice. Warning: includes light interference from Elf on a Shelf. 

To celebrate the 50th birthday of the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery/Len Lye Centre in New Plymouth, Walters Prize-winning artist Ruth Buchanan has rehung their collection, bringing previously unseen works and skeletons out of the closet.

A strange pneumonia-causing virus has broken out in China, and the number of cases is rising rapidly. How worried should we be? 

Fishermen and swimmers around the Hauraki Gulf are reporting droves of baby sharks in the waters. What does it mean, and where are their parents?

Australia cannot blame the destruction on others; in any moral calculation, it has done this to itself.


Last year was the fourth hottest year on record for New Zealand, and scientists say it's only getting hotter.

Females have been told for years that the hymen is an integral part of sex, especially when it comes to 'losing your virginity'. That's all a lie.

Between the city and the coast lies an insurmountable gulf, or so they say. Michael Andrew decided to test that by interning at a local paper in the West Coast and found himself beguiled by the strangeness and the beauty. 

Over the weekend, McKellen resurfaced the extensive blog he produced while filming Lord of the Rings. Behold, the most wholesome highlights.

As Australia came to terms with the fact that climate change is fuelling its bushfires, deniers began a rearguard action centred around claims that arson, not climate, is to blame.


New Zealand needs a decent summer silly season story, and we need it now.

Nick Kroll discusses lessons he's learned in comedy, including how an applicator tampon works.

Sam Brooks digs into his childhood to present his magnum opus: a ranking of all 151 OG Pokémon.

Summer reissue: A few years ago, deep into middle age, Britta Stabenow found solace in the world of gaming. Now she's part of a passionate community: those who love, and collect, video games.

Sam Brooks reviews Gris, the stunning, newly updated game from Devolver Digital that gamifies and makes beautiful that one universal process: grief.


Sam Brooks reviews the latest generation of the Pokémon games which finally hits the big-ish screen.

Sam Brooks reviews the most anticipated game of 2019: Hideo Kojima's Death Stranding.

Sam Brooks went to the FOMO 2020 festival in Auckland, and was relieved to find it was more than just the final time that Lizzo will ever perform at 7:20pm.

Sam Brooks steps back in time to 2009, the year of Now! That's What I Call Music 31. What did his younger self think of those songs – and do they still hold up today?

What’s it like to wait over a decade for a new record from one of your favourite bands? David Farrier writes about the joys, perils and embarrassment of being a Tool fan in 2019.


Radio competitions are won by impulsive decision-makers. A giveaway on RNZ taught one woman to never hesitate.

God may have created all his children in his image, but the same cannot be said for his hymns. Some church songs are good, some are bad, and some are absolute bangers.

My name is Eddie and I’m seven and my mum said I have to write about my school holidays and I just want to play Minecraft. I love swimming so these are the best places for swimming by me Eddie.

The scale of the horror in Australia right now can be hard for kids to process. Emily Writes explains what she's been doing with her own sons to help them feel a little less afraid.

Jane Yee discovers nothing can prepare you for twins.


Emily Writes and her son pay a visit to the brand new 'playground' on the Parliament lawn.

It's the most beautiful time of the year! Emily Writes investigates the top 10 toys your ungrateful kids will want this Christmas.

Auckland Council recently announced a citywide food scrap collection scheme that will be kicking off in 2021, so what do we need to know?

Everything you need to know about the suspension of buses in Auckland and the industrial action that it springs from.

Photographer Brendan Kitto shares images telling the story of the dramatic housing changes in Glen Innes, Auckland.


Hayden Donnell looks for inspiration and innovation on how to house the city’s future.

Auckland’s Giant Santa is being retired and may be lost forever. This morning he was offered a lifeline from the highest office in NZ.

Catch up on Scratched, the Spinoff's video series celebrating New Zealand sporting heroes who never got their due – but whose legacies deserve to be in lights.

Simon Day and Alex Braae – co-hosts of The Offspin podcast – look back at the ten-year evolution of the Black Caps. 

How the Silver Ferns went from rock bottom to top of the world in the 2010s.


Sir Peter Snell has died, aged 80, at his home in Dallas, Texas. Looking back at the life of arguably New Zealand's greatest ever athlete.

When Barbara Cox joined a football team in 1973, she was one of the first women in the country to do so.

The Spinoff promises there are only 11 podcasts currently worth listening to (please don't ask anyone else). Here they are. 

The Real Pod assembles to dissect the week in reality television and real life, with special thanks to Nando’s.

The Real Pod assembles to dissect the week in reality television and real life, with special thanks to Nando’s.


Join the hosts of various The Spinoff podcasts as we look back at the car crash that was 2019.

This week on Business is Boring, host Simon Pound talks to Robyn McLean, co-founder of The Hello Cup.

Sam Brooks covers how long it’ll take to binge some of the most bingeable shows – and how to prepare to for it.

From early beginnings as a boutique wealth management firm to being a major player in KiwiSaver, the journey of Kiwi Wealth has seen some things change and others stay the same.

Auckland's property market is increasingly hard to crack for first-home buyers, but co-ownership could be the answer.


If the rugby players look like garbage out there on the field – well, that’s us too.

Tara Ward pens a tribute to the one constant in New Zealand television: The Shortland Street Christmas cliffhanger.  

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