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Black Sheep

48 EpisodesProduced by RNZWebsite

2021 VOYAGER AWARDS WINNER - BEST EPISODIC PODCAST. The shady, controversial and sometimes downright villainous characters of New Zealand history, presented by William Ray.

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Killer Conductor: the story of Eric Mareo - Part 2

May 23rd, 2021


When flamboyant orchestra conductor Eric Mareo was convicted of murder for a second time, the judge raised grave concerns about the verdict with the Attorney General. So, did 1930s prejudice and sensationalist media …

Killer Conductor: the story of Eric Mareo - Part 1

May 16th, 2021


Kiwis rose to their feet and cheered when the flamboyant orchestra conductor Eric Mareo was found guilty of murdering his wife in 1936. But 85 years later, the verdict seems less certain. Was justice done? Or was Mareo …

Escape Artist: the story of George Wilder

May 9th, 2021


George Wilder is an accidental folk hero. He never sought the spotlight, but his three escapes from prison in the 1960s made him a national …

Slaver: the story of Thomas McGrath

May 2nd, 2021


In 1863 half the population of a small Tongan island called 'Ata boarded a ship captained by Thomas McGrath. They were never seen again. In this …

Governor: the story of Sir George Grey - Part 2

April 26th, 2021


In the second of Black Sheep's two part episode on Sir George Grey, Aotearoa is launched into the worst conflicts of the New Zealand Wars. For more on the Waikato War, watch and listen to Stories of Tainui.

Governor: the story of Sir George Grey - Part 1

April 18th, 2021


Sir George Grey led Aotearoa into some of the worst conflicts of the New Zealand Wars. But at the beginning of his career many saw him as a defender of indigenous rights - including some Māori! So... What happened?

Black Sheep Season Six Trailer

April 14th, 2021


Black Sheep returns for a Sixth Season!

Baby Farmer: the story of Minnie Dean

August 30th, 2020


Minnie Dean must rank as one of New Zealand's most infamous figures. The only woman to be judicially executed in New Zealand history. For years she …

Machine-gun Murder: the story of Bassett Road (part 2)

August 23rd, 2020


The case breaks wide open, two key witnesses come forward with critical information. But the most interesting part of the Bassett Road murders is what happens after the conviction...

Machine-gun Murder: the story of Bassett Road (part 1)

August 16th, 2020


It's 1963 and two bodies are found in a house at Bassett Road in Remuera. Detectives are shocked to discover they were killed by a submachine-gun. Newspaper headlines read "Chicago Comes to New Zealand". Black Sheep …

Madam: the story of Flora MacKenzie

August 9th, 2020


Flora MacKenzie is one of the most colourful characters in New Zealand history: A hard drinking, hard talking brothel owner from the 1960s and 70s …

Invasive: the story of Stewart Smith

August 1st, 2020


Between the 1960s and late 2000s Stewart Smith went on a one-man crusade, releasing thousands of invasive fish into New Zealand’s rivers, lakes and streams. In this episode of Black Sheep, we investigate his story.

Colonial Mastermind: the story of Edward Gibbon Wakefield (part 2)

July 26th, 2020


In part two of Black Sheep's series on Edward Gibbon Wakefield we see theories of "systematic" and "humanitarian" colonisation run into bitter …

Colonial Mastermind: the story of Edward Gibbon Wakefield (part 1)

July 19th, 2020


Edward Gibbon Wakefield used to be known as “The Father of New Zealand.” But modern historians have pointed to the disastrous impact of his colonial …

Raider: the story of Felix von Luckner

July 12th, 2020


Felix von Luckner was a child aristocrat who ran away to sea, he captained the last square-rigged sailing ship ever to serve in combat, he sailed three thousand kilometres across the Pacific in a lifeboat and led the …

The Aotearoa History Show!

October 7th, 2019


The story of New Zealand and its people, from its geological origins to modern day. Hosted by William Ray and Leigh-Marama McLachlan, with animation …

The story of White Supremacy

March 25th, 2019


In this special episode of Black Sheep, William Ray looks at the history of white supremacy in NZ.

Headhunter: the story of Horatio Robley (part 2)

February 12th, 2019


The story of Horatio Robley continues... How did a man once dubbed a "predator of culture" for his collection of Maori heads become better known as a …

Headhunter: the story of Horatio Robley (part 1)

February 12th, 2019


Horatio Robley witnessed the most famous battle of the New Zealand Wars, he fathered a child with the daughter of a sworn enemy, his sketching helped end a war, his book helped save the art of Maori tattooing... But …

Death Sentence: the story of NZ's executions

February 10th, 2019


The death penalty has started wars, won elections, outraged the population and ruined lives. Join William Ray for this live podcast recording at the …

Swashbuckler: the story of Bully Hayes

December 17th, 2018


Bully Hayes is famous as a charismatic "pirate" of the South Pacific. But most stories gloss over his more heinous crimes: Slavery, sexual assault …

Soldier of Fortune: the story of Gustavus von Tempsky (part 2)

December 9th, 2018


In part two, how Gustavus von Tempsky went from a relatively famous soldier to the uber-hero of NZ colonial history.

Soldier of Fortune: the story of Gustavus von Tempsky (part 1)

December 2nd, 2018


He was larger than life, a warrior and artist who's legend has only grown since his death in 1868.... but Gustavus von Tempsky had a dark side

Traitor: the story of Patrick Heenan (part 2)

November 25th, 2018


Why do some historians think an NZ-born traitor was "instrumental" in the Japanese victory in Singapore during WWII? 

Traitor: the story of Patrick Heenan (Part 1)

November 18th, 2018


What drove a boy from Reefton to turn against his comrades in World War Two? How was a former boxing and swimming champion recruited as an agent of Imperial Japan?

Con-artist: the story of Amy Bock

November 11th, 2018


Amy Bock was a criminal "supreme in her cleverness". Her most famous con saw her pose as a man for 15 weeks and marry the daughter of her landlord. Nobody has ever been able to explain what motivated her lifetime of …

Honest Murderer: the story of John Bryce

April 30th, 2018


Pākehā settlers in Taranaki knew John Bryce as "Honest John" but Taranaki Māori called him "Bryce Kōhuru" - Bryce the Murderer. In this episode of Black Sheep William Ray investigates the life of the infamous Native …

NZ Nazi: the story of Roy Courlander

April 22nd, 2018


Roy Courlander was a New Zealand soldier who joined Nazi Germany's infamous SS during WW2. Black Sheep investigates why he chose to turn traitor.

Pakeha Maori: the story of Kimble Bent

April 15th, 2018


Kimble Bent was one of a tiny handful of Europeans who switched sides during the New Zealand Wars, who deserted the British army to join Maori …

Slash & Burn: the story of Joseph Burns

April 8th, 2018


A cottage burns down, three mutilated bodies are found inside and there are fears the whole city of Auckland could be at risk. In this episode of …

Regicide: the story of Chris Lewis

April 1st, 2018


In 1981 Dunedin teenager Chris Lewis tried to shoot Queen Elizabeth. Then, at least according to some, authorities tried to cover it up. In this …

Arsonist: the story of Cyrus Haley

March 25th, 2018


It's 1871 and the city of Auckland is being terrorised by a string of major fires. Fears are raised that a gang of anarchist fanatics could be …

Pirate Mystery: the story of Charlotte Badger

March 18th, 2018


Charlotte Badger was one of the first European women to live in New Zealand. She was also a pirate... or at least that's the traditional story. In this special episode of Black Sheep, recorded live at Charlotte's …

Outlaw: the story of Richard Burgess

October 15th, 2017


In the 1860s Richard Burgess and his outlaw gang roved the West Coast, robbing and murdering dozens of people. Black Sheep investigates his life story and what drove him to a life of crime.

Unjust: the story of James Prendergast

October 5th, 2017


In 1877 Chief Justice James Prendergast ruled the Treaty of Waitangi was "a simple nullity", in part because it was signed by "simple barbarians" and …

Poisoner: the story of Thomas Hall

October 1st, 2017


"The most vile criminal ever to be tried in New Zealand" Thomas Hall's crimes scandalised New Zealand when it was revealed he had attempted to murder his wife in order to steal her family fortune.

Radical: the story of Arthur Desmond

September 23rd, 2017


Meet the New Zealand author of a book beloved by Neo-Nazi's, Satanists and White Supremacists. Bizarrely Arthur Desmond started off as a hard-core labour activist and supporter of Maori rights, but he then went "so far …

Abortionist: the story of Annie Aves

September 14th, 2017


Annie Aves was a famous abortionist from the 1930s. She was tried four times but each time the jury failed to reach a verdict.

Nazi Hoax: the story of Syd Ross

September 10th, 2017


Nazi "assassins", mischievous con-artists and power hungry spies... Black Sheep investigates how a pair of hoaxers convinced the government that New Zealand had been infiltrated by Nazi agents.

Epidemic: the story of Robert Logan

September 3rd, 2017


Can you imagine if 20 per cent of the people you know suddenly died? How would you feel if the people in charge blocked doctors from helping them? …

Graverobber: the story of Andreas Reischek

November 27th, 2016


In the 1880s Austrian naturalist and ethnographer Andreas Reischek stole four mummified Maori corpses and secretly smuggled them out of the country …

War profiteer: the story of Thomas Russell

November 20th, 2016


The worst kind of villain in New Zealand history was... an Auckland property speculator.

Eugenics: the story of a really bad idea

November 13th, 2016


Did you know that after the First World War New Zealand established an official eugenics board? We tend to think of eugenics as being something the Nazis invented but really it was embraced all around the world in the …

Warrior chief: the story of Hongi Hika

November 7th, 2016


Hongi Hika is a man with a difficult legacy. He's one of the greatest figures in New Zealand history, but he's also often held responsible for …

Faith fraud: the story of Arthur Worthington

October 31st, 2016


Arthur Worthington was a con artist who travelled the USA, marrying rich women then abandoning them and stealing all their money. Eventually with private detectives hot on his tail in 1890 he jumped on a ship bound for …

Bad cop: the story of John Cullen

October 17th, 2016


In 1916 John Cullen led a small army of police deep into the misty forests of Te Urewera to arrest the Tuhoe prophet Rua Kenana - his crime? …

Broken Blossom: the story of Alice Parkinson

October 10th, 2016


"Four shots, and then another one" - that's how the story of Alice Parkinson begins as the 25 year old waitress guns down her fiancé, Bert West, in …

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