Don Rowe

Don Rowe (Ngāi Tahu) is a staff writer at The Spinoff. He was the 2015 Canon Media Awards student journalist of the year and the 2017 junior long form feature writer of the year. Email him on don@thespinoff.co.nz

Society
Jan 9, 2019

How a pet bearded dragon got abducted by a government vet

Don Rowe reveals a chilling conspiracy that saw one lizard almost lost forever to the power of the state. 

Read on.

Society
Jan 8, 2019

Ambergris, the whale poo worth more than your car

Sought after for thousands of years, and worth upwards of $10,000/kg today, ambergris washes up on beaches across New Zealand all year long. Don Rowe goes looking for it.

Read on.

Music
Jan 5, 2019

Remembering shuffling, the dance craze of the Bebo era

For a time in the late 2000s, youth of all backgrounds in this country began to dance. Don Rowe remembers the brief flash when techno became a unifying force in New Zealand.

Read on.


Gaming
Jan 5, 2019

God of War and Kant’s theory of the sublime

Through clever manipulation of scale and mythos, the latest iteration of God of War makes the most of Immanuel Kant's theory of the sublime to deliver a truly beautiful game.

Read on.

Society
Dec 30, 2018

Summer Reissue: A brief history of Big Foot, New Zealand’s most ridiculous RTD

For a brief moment, New Zealand was home to Big Foot, a mythically potent RTD served in a giant bottle and apparently aimed squarely at teens. Don Rowe talks to the brain behind it.

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Society
Dec 20, 2018

It’s two years to the referendum and the weed debate is already insufferable

In a foreshadowing of the excruciating debate to come, FamilyFirst have gone head-to-head with an actual scientist on the issue of marijuana. But there's an agenda on both sides, writes Don Rowe. 

Read on.

Society
Dec 8, 2018

The Spinoff Hot Take Advent Calendar: December 8

Every day in the leadup to Christmas, open the door to reveal a Spinoff writer’s short, sizzling commentary on a weighty subject. Today: Don Rowe on why we should call off this garbage year a few weeks early.

Read on.

Gaming
Dec 5, 2018

Why Māori were picked for the world’s most popular strategy game

In a new ecology-focused Civ VI expansion, Kupe leads the Māori in an attempt to dominate the globe through kaitiakitanga. 

Read on.

Society
Nov 30, 2018

Spies, sabotage and political donations: why China is dominating the news

From an academic suspecting foul play to the spooks blocking Huawei gear in the new broadband roll-out, China is suddenly in a lot of headlines. Don Rowe rounds it all up.

Read on.

Ātea
Nov 30, 2018

How whakapapa led to one doctor losing her stomach and gaining her life

In the age of advanced genetics, whakapapa is a powerful tool against hereditary illness. Don Rowe talks to Dr Karyn Paringatai, the stomach-less doctor reconnecting whanau to save lives.

Read on.

Society
Nov 22, 2018

Remembering Kozmik, the grooviest Kiwi clothes of the 90s

For a brief moment in the late 20th century, New Zealand produced some of the dopest hand-painted clothing on Earth. Don Rowe talks to the founders of Kozmik Klothing. 

Read on.

Society
Nov 19, 2018

Up close with the Testimatic, the man-machine that squeezed my balls

The Testimatic is New Zealand's first medicinal glory hole, providing an eye contact-free testicular examination. Don Rowe gets his balls squeezed in public.

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Business
Nov 19, 2018

The nicked FlyBuys points, the .ru account and the Auckland delivery address

Ant Timpson got a fright to discover his FlyBuys had been stolen, cameras purchased and the goods sent to a notorious Auckland address

Read on.

Politics
Nov 14, 2018

Mike Pence requested Jacinda Ardern for dinner. Here’s what’s on the menu

Tonight in Singapore, it's PM meets Veep. We preview the worst working dinner imaginable.

Read on.

Society
Nov 11, 2018

Sir Peter Jackson’s haunting WWI masterpiece

100 years from the end of WWI, Sir Peter Jackson has released They Shall Not Grow Old, a groundbreaking restoration of footage from The Great War. 

Read on.

Society
Nov 8, 2018

Why corporate boxing is getting people killed

Yesterday corporate boxer Kain Parsons succumbed to a brain injury sustained in a charity bout on Saturday night. He won't be the last, writes Don Rowe. 

Read on.

Society
Nov 6, 2018

So you’re about to lose money on the Melbourne Cup – where does it go?

Hundreds of millions of dollars are lost by punters at the TAB every year. Where does it go, asks Don Rowe.

Read on.

Politics
Oct 30, 2018

First homes and fake news

Yesterday saw yet another story of young home owner success splashed across the news. But this time both sides of the political divide kicked off, sledging the government and the new mortgagees alike. 

Read on.

Politics
Oct 19, 2018

‘I am just motivated to cut throats’: meet Jami Lee-Ross’s political mastermind

Who is the political operative giving advice to the rogue National MP?

Read on.

Society
Oct 15, 2018

Tasman deathtrap: the brutal toll of Australia’s deportation policy

As the number of New Zealand citizens deported from Australia grows, so too does the death toll. Don Rowe reports on the rising human costs of Australia's immigration reforms. 

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LATE at the Museum
Oct 3, 2018

Don’t be scared: the scientists calling for genetic modification in New Zealand

Genetic modification offers space-age healthcare, booming agriculture and a new weapon in the war on invasive species – if we choose to use it.

Read on.

Ātea
Oct 3, 2018

How Ngāi Tahu turned a landmark settlement into a billion dollar iwi empire

Ngāi Tahu spent 150 years in poverty, dispossessed of the vast majority of their whenua and mahinga kai. Today, 20 years on from their landmark settlement with the Crown, they're sitting atop a billion dollar pūtea.

Read on.

Ātea
Sep 20, 2018

How Hinewehi Mohi made the Māori national anthem mainstream

When Hinewehi Mohi was asked to sing the anthem before New Zealand's 1999 quarter final versus England, she made a choice that would change the pregame ritual for good.

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Music
Sep 4, 2018

Get out your Oakleys: Blindspott are back

After ten years of public fallout, New Zealand's favourite Nu-Metal band are back. Don Rowe talks to Blindspott. 

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Society
Sep 3, 2018

A Pacific powderkeg: why Nauru will dominate the news this week

Jacinda Ardern flies to Nauru this week for the Pacific Islands Forum, and the host is already making headlines way beyond the official agenda

Read on.

Society
Aug 30, 2018

‘Baffling hypocrisy’: Wilderpeople star slams use of film in gambling promotion

The acclaimed Hunt for the Wilderpeople is the main attraction on a new line of Instant Kiwi scratchie cards, raising concerns among actors, artists and anti-gambling activists.

Read on.

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