Episode 18: The Wall

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“My brother walked in when I was trying on a leather skirt. I acted surprised and said I thought it was cowboy chaps.”

Rohan Stace was a Kiwi cop who never shied away from the dangers of frontline policing. But behind his macho image he was a cross-dresser who lived in terror of his secret being discovered. Three years ago, Rohan ceased to exist. She is now Rhona – New Zealand’s first openly transgender police prosecutor. This is her story.

Music credits for this episode: Come as You Are by Blue Dot Sessions, Calm and Collected by Blue Dot Sessions, Walking Shoes by Blue Dot Sessions, Slow Dial by Blue Dot Sessions, Lanky by Blue Dot Sessions, Lemon and Melon by Blue Dot Sessions, November Mist by Blue Dot Sessions.

“If I dropped my guard someone might find out the truth and then it would all be over.”

Episode 17: The Choice

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"I didn’t feel like I had to protect anyone any more... I said, 'No, Graham wasn’t your biological father. Another man was.'"

 Before giving birth at the age of 18, Averill Richardson had been faced with a choice: give her baby girl away to strangers, or keep her – but never, ever tell her who her real father was. Averill made her choice. Sixteen years later, the secret was out. 

Music credits for this episode: Vernouillet by Blue Dot Sessions, Greyleaf Willow by Blue Dot Sessions, Peacoat by Blue Dot Sessions, Via Verre by Blue Dot Sessions, Lamprey by Blue Dot Sessions, Jat Poure by Blue Dot Sessions, Collingwood by Blue Dot Sessions, Low Coal Camper by Blue Dot Sessions

"I’m jogging past a house where my father could be living, and wondering, 'Am I passing him in the street?'"

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Episode 16: Hot Dog

“The boys all rocked up with their labradors and James would arrive with his sausage dog.”

 He was a Southern Man. She was a sausage dog. They went together like Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny Devito. Harriet Bremner tells the story of her life with such unlikely companions... and what happened when everything went wrong.

Music credits for this episode: Pat Dog byBlue Dot Sessions, Vittorio by Blue Dot Sessions, Open Flames by Blue Dot Sessions, In Paler Skies by Blue Dot Sessions,The Cast and Favour by Blue Dot Sessions, The Envelope by Blue Dot Sessions 

Find out more about Harriet and her books at  gurtandpops

“One horse, Ollie, put his chin on my shoulder, rested his cheekbone against mine and hugged me, the only way a horse can hug you.”



Episode 15: The Premonition

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“The fog cleared temporarily... and I caught a glimpse of the blade of the knife.”

Police dog handler Bruce Howat and his canine partner Cara were a crack crime-fighting duo – one of the finest man-dog teams on the force. It all came to an end one night when Bruce found himself on the wrong end of a 33cm-long hunting knife wielded by the most unlikely of criminals. A story of the immense bond between a policeman and his dog – and the lengths they went to to save each other.

Music credits for this episode: Low Light Switch by Blue Dot Sessions, Are We Loose Yet by Blue Dot Sessions, Ragtime by Tate Peterson, Mid Day Blues by Tate Peterson, Cast In Wicker by Blue Dot Sessions, Gaena by Blue Dot Sessions, The One Shot by Blue Dot Sessions, Uncertain Ground by Blue Dot Sessions and Come As You Were by Blue Dot Sessions. 

Find Bruce’s stories of his escapades with Cara at The Story Mint

“The senior sergeant was in his office. I jumped her onto his desk and said, ‘Guard’ and I said, ‘In case you’re not aware what that means, you move a muscle and she’s legally allowed to bite you.’”

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Episode 14: The Book Thief

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“I didn’t want to hurt anybody but I was not willing to take any prisoners. I wanted my books.”

 Book lover Dennis Gallagher could accept losing his apartment in the devastating 2011 Christchurch earthquake. But he could not accept losing his books. Instead, he found his inner James Bond and launched a secret operation to steal his own books from his own apartment within the military-patrolled red zone.

 “I could tell they were looking at me thinking, ‘This man is lying. He’s a looter.’”


Music credits for this episode: Heliotrope by Blue Dot Sessions, Wake Up Wake Up by Lullatone, Floating Away by Lullatone, In Paler Skies by Blue Dot Sessions, Retro Secret Agent Theme by Hakan Eriksson, Secret Agent Theme by Fragile Audioroom, Floating Whist by Blue Dot Sessions, The Zeppelin by Blue Dot Sessions.

Read Dennis’s North & South story here: The Book Heist in the Aftermath of the Christchurch Earthquake

Find Dennis’ blog here: samadhisoft

Episode 13: The Secret

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“Annie never did find his love-making apparatus and not once did she ever suspect that he was anything other than a fully-equipped man.”

Eugene Falleni was a hard-drinking, foul-mouthed deck hand on a South Seas sailing ship. Then, his secret was discovered. A story of transgender, betrayal and murder.

Music credits for this episode: Wouldn’t Believe it by Boone Howard, Old Fashioned by The Singer and the Songwriter, Say Goodbye by Monarques, Half a Life by Boone Howard, Dark is Coming by James William Hindle, Set Fire by Corrina Rep, The Madness by The Invasion, The Law by The Invasion, Malheur by Mbilly, Release Me by Corinna Rep, It’s All Over Now by Monarques.

Research and further reading:

Eugenia by Mark Tedeschi

Eugenia A Man by Suzanne Falkiner

Half Wild by Pip Smith

“A woman’s body, placed in a makeshift fireplace, lay smouldering in the clearing. Heat from the fire had burned off her hair, clothing and skin.”

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Episode 12: Proof of Love

“They hurt me so bad I wanted to die... you wouldn’t do that to a rabid dog.”

Bruce and Veronica’s chance meeting on a Hastings street was the start of something big – but they were up against something even bigger. The remarkable story of girl in foster care trying to find her way through the abusive state care system in the 1970s and a guy who promised to protect her.   

Music credits for this episode: Clay Pigeons by Novi Split; Bitter Water by Big Haunt; Kentucky Mule by Tate Peterson; Back of Your Hand by Annalisa Tornfelt; Brutal Heart by Michael Howard; Little Picture by Alialujah Choir; Homeward Bound by Annalisa Tornfelt; Unlove You by The Singer and the Songwriter; The Rose by Annalisa Tornfelt.

“I’d made her a promise that nothing would ever hurt her again and suddenly I couldn’t do anything about it.”

You can find The Lip on Apple Podcasts: https://itunes.apple.com/nz/podcast/the-lip-podcast/id1193840439?mt=2&i=1000385412139

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Episode 11: Cult

A real-life Handmaid's Tale

 When Lilia Tarawa fled from the religious cult of Gloriavale, she turned her back on the only life she’d ever known. The deeply moving story of a girl who grew up in an isolated community where women exist to serve the men, give birth and perform domestic chores… and what happened when her thirst for truth and knowledge became too great to ignore.

“Mum freaks out, like, ‘God has cursed us’. Dad’s like, ‘Don’t be silly, woman!’ and I’m sitting here thinking, ‘Are there people from Gloriavale coming to get us? Will they come and force us to go back? And I’m scared out of my wits.”

Lilia’s memoir, Daughter of Gloriavale is published by Allen & Unwin New Zealand.  It is available in selected book stores ($NZ36.99) and also on ebook: Daughter of Gloriavale .  

You can find The Lip on Apple Podcasts: https://itunes.apple.com/nz/podcast/the-lip-podcast/id1193840439?mt=2&i=1000385412139

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Music credits for this episode are: Bury a Mountain by Michael Howard; The Girl from the Dogwood Forest by Michael Howard; Cold Weather by Alialujah Choir; A Soft Place to Land by Annalisa Tornfelt; No Need to Know by Alialujah Choir; You Got Served by Novi Split


Episode 10: Unbroken

“I could see my green eyes. I could see my brown hair and my height. I said, ‘Is this who I really think it is? Are you my dad?’”

After the childhood from hell, Red 11 talent agency co-founder Amanda Betts was on a path to destruction when an unwelcome gift transformed her life…

Music credits for this episode are: Sputtering to Spin by Alialujah Choir; Raven King by Michael Howard; After Life by Annalisa Tornfelt; Child Come Home by Michael Howard.

Click here for Bridge the Gap

You can find The Lip on Apple Podcasts: https://itunes.apple.com/nz/podcast/the-lip-podcast/id1193840439?mt=2&i=1000385412139


Episode 9: Dead Man Walking

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“He picked up some fish and chips and a bottle or two of champagne… and devoured his first meal as a dead man”

Harry Gordon successfully faked his own death and had been living a brand new life under an assumed name for five years – until he accidentally bumped into his brother.

The final song in this episode is: Oh No, by Monarques

You can find The Lip on Apple Podcasts: https://itunes.apple.com/nz/podcast/the-lip-podcast/id1193840439?mt=2&i=1000385412139

Episode 8: Nadia's Promise

What kind of 11-year-old girl makes a promise to a complete stranger… and keeps it for a lifetime?

 An insane romance on an Italian cruise ship ultimately led Liz Lawrence to the greatest tragedy of her life. Then, a young girl called Nadia – who she didn’t know from a bar of soap – made her a promise…  

The final song on this episode is: Hymn by Starover Blue

“I saw the birds in the trees and thought, ‘How can they keep on singing? Don’t they know? Don’t they know what just happened?’”

You can find The Lip on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/nz/podcast/the-lip-podcast/id1193840439?mt=2&i=1000385412139

Episode 7: The Boy Who Was Mistaken for a Sheep

“How could I sit back and watch him die, when there was something I could do about it?”

One minute Michael Batista was riding in the cab of the removal truck. The next, he was lying in a ditch, watching his grandfather drive off into the night… Twenty-five years later, the consequences of that night threatened to claim his life again, until a remarkable act of generosity and kindness came his way.

Music: Tiny Birch Basket, Michael Howard; Shimmery Harmonics, Jack Burgess; Bury a Mountain, Michael Howard; Part of Me, Alialujah Choir

You can find The Lip on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/nz/podcast/the-lip-podcast/id1193840439?mt=2&i=1000385412139

Episode 6: The Double-edged Sword

“Once I realised, ‘I’m actually going to die’, it was a relief… and also other random things, like, “I’m so glad I put the rubbish out.”

She always knew it would end in carnage. She was right. The Simonne Butler story – as you’ve never heard it before.

Simonne’s book, Double-Edged Sword is a powerful read. You can find it on Simonne’s own website http://www.simonnebutler.co.nz . It’s also available in NZ book shops and online at Amazon


Music: The songs at the beginning and end of this episode are both by Hazel Ra:  The Wild and Gentle Wolves Are The Most Dangerous of All. Other music: City of Doves, DL Sounds, Random Selection, DL Sounds, Lat Den Ratte Komman In, by Dani Paz, Binaural Beat Hypnagogia, DL Sounds, Clair de Lune, DL Sounds, and Secret Places by Alex Fitch.

You can also subscribe to The Lip on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/nz/podcast/the-lip-podcast/id1193840439?mt=2&i=1000385412139


New Zealand

Women’s Refuge 24-hour crisis line phone:0800 REFUGE (0800 733 843)

Shine web:  www.2shine.org.nz   phone: 0508 744 633


phone: 1800 RESPECT or 1800 737 732

web link: www.au.reachout.com/domestic-violence-support


web: www.thehotline.org  phone:  8088 799 7233


web:  http://endingviolencecanada.org/getting-help/

web: http://www.dawncanada.net/issues/issues/we-can-tell-and-we-will-tell-2/crisis-hotlines/


web: www.victimsupport.org.uk  phone: 0808 1689 111

web: www.refuge.org.uk  phone: 0808 2000 247


web: www.safeireland.ie  phone: 1800 341 900

Episode 5: Blurred Lines

“Part of me was delighted by the photos, by the exposure, but I wasn’t delighted by the text ... calling me a luscious horn bag.”

Leigh Hopkinson was leading the perfect double life… until a neighbour discovered her secret and dobbed her in.

Music credits for this episode are: Full Bird Music, Heist and Fight; Gary ONeal, Bump and Grind; Loops Lab, Funky Detective; The Dirty Moogs, Tight Tight Pants.

To find out what happened to Leigh after we left her story, her book, Two Decades Naked (Hachette) is available in bookshops and on Amazon. 

Episode 4: Back From The Abyss

“We decided, ‘This work lark is cramping our lifestyle’, so we quit our jobs and became full-time outlaws”

Locked up in Mt Eden prison on charges relating to meth, guns and kidnapping, Janet Balcombe had to admit: her life hadn’t gone quite as she expected. A story from the edge of the abyss.

Music credits for this episode: I’ll Become Everything, Nick Jaina; Pill Spectre, Grandparents; Kids In The Alley, Grandparents; YYOOUU, Grandparents; All The Way, Grandparents

Janet’s book is available from a selection of book shops and also on Amazon. You can also find out more about Janet Balcombe at www.wildsidepublishing.com

Episode 3: The Singing Cowboy

“He started burrowing into his sack and drawing out $20 bills. Crickey! I couldn’t believe my eyes!”

Suffering from debilitating anxiety and depression, as a young man Jock Hume could have fallen through the cracks. Instead, he bought himself a studded shirt and tan boots and carved out a place for himself in the world.

Music credits for this episode: All tracks performed by Jock Hume – Marianne; When The Rain Tumbles Down in July; Falsom Prison; Sweeney. Thank you to Michael Colonna for permission to use audio from The Variety Artists Club of New Zealand’s 2005 awards.          

Episode 2: The Butterfly Effect

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“He was a real sensation... People were coming over just to meet this butterfly.”

Tracy Pepper of Mt Maunganui was pulled out of a low patch by a guy called Fluffy – who showed her that life is always worth living, no matter how difficult the circumstances.

Music credits for this episode: Dream 1, Tonality Star

Fluffy is just one of Tracy’s amazing stories. You can find Tracy on her Facebook page, One Mountain at a Time and also at: www.tracypepper.com

Episode 1: Murder Under the Mountain

“I said to Niki, ‘We’re in the shit aren't we?’ And she said, ‘Yep.’ I said, ‘Will they go through with it?’ And she said, ‘Yep.’”

Accomplices Mark Goodwin and Jan Yorke planned to murder two people in one night – only to discover that one of the women they thought they’d killed had risen from the dead. This is the story of that woman, Barbara Bishop.

Music credits for this episode: Improvisation in D,  Tate Peterson: All Alone in the Cellar, Lost Harmonies

Episode 0 : Trailer


“I looked into those eyes that once terrified me and went, 'Have.You. Finished?'”

The Lip is a podcast in which people tell stories of the unforgettable events in their lives. It launches mid-January, 2017 and a new episode will be released each month. You will be able to download us from iTunes or wherever else you find your podcasts. You will also be able to stream us from this website. For a taste of things to come, listen to the trailer below. Looking forward to seeing you back in January!