You’re Pulling My Trotter

Radio New Zealand has implemented a number of annoying changes to its National Radio programming in recent years, but one of the stand-out successes has been the Summer Report programme. However, presenter Todd Niall faced a bit of a problem this morning…

The familiar National Radio (formerly National Programme) radio service is long gone, having been replaced by the more up-beat mouthful of Radio New Zealand National. Standards have declined in favour of a more popular format that might meet competition head-on but makes it less distinctive.

However, pockets of National Radio’s style and quality survive, and there is still a goodly amount of local content being broadcast.

One of the innovations that has proven popular with long-time listeners is the Summer Report programme which replaces Morning Report during the summer holidays. Summer Report is a blend of current affairs, news, chatter and pre-recorded features presented in a relaxed style.

The relaxed and musing voice of Todd Niall, who presents Summer Report, has become synonomous with the programme. One of the features that has been running this holiday season has been a series of short programmes made in the Tokelau Islands by Philippa Tolley. Tolley has been interviewing locals and providing commentary that gives an insight on life in New Zealand’s last remaining Pacific Island territory.

This morning, Tolley finished her series on Tokelau with a discussion about the pigs on the atoll of Fakaofo. The pigs are free to roam where they will, and are usually branded so that their owners can find them. They enjoy grazing on fallen coconuts (they don’t climb the trees to get them), like to take a dip in the sea and … go fishing.

To a cityfied mainlander this last revelation about fishing pigs created a bit of a problem. There was always the danger that Tolley had finished her series with a trotter-puller that was tantamount to saying that pigs really can fly.

But it seems that the pigs on Fakaofo do actually indulge in a bit of fishing while taking a dip in the briney (yum, salty bacon) and poor old Niall was chided by some listeners for questioning the veracity of Tolley’s report. What was missing was a description of the techniques they use – surf-casting, netting, gaffing, trolling – or maybe they just tickle them (like some trout fishers) with their trotters until they die of laughter.

A good effort all round, and good listening. I’m still chuckling over this one!

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