Listen Up – Podcast Recommendations

Whether you’re getting tired of looking at your screen or want something to listen to on your walks, we’ve got the podcasts for you! Youth Librarian Alicia asked library staff for their podcast recommendations for teens. Some are their personal faves and some are what their teenage family members are listening to, but they’re all good! You can listen to many of these podcasts on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, and other podcast streaming apps. Leave a comment and share what you love listening to!

Song Crush (RNZ)

Radio New Zealand (RNZ) RNZ produces a whole lot of really cool podcasts. Youth Librarian Ray recommends Song Crush, a 30 minute weekly(ish) round up of excellent songs and artists from Aotearoa and around the world. The host is knowledgeable and generous, and there's a revolving collection of guests so the music recommendations are always varied. Listen with a notebook so you can write down everything you've liked!

The Aotearoa History Show (RNZ)

Holly from Linwood Library is also a big fan of RNZ podcasts. The Aotearoa History Show hosts are young, likeable, and easy to listen to. The hosts explore the story of New Zealand and its people from its geological origins to modern day. The episodes are animated on YouTube. This is one for the History and Social Studies fans.

The Young Matt Show

Susan the Children's Librarian asked her teens what they've been listening to! Salient Magazine, the Victoria University of Wellington student mag, brings you the Young Matt Show. Host Matthew Casey’s vision is to produce unbiased and quirky content that will, bit by bit, boost youth engagement with politics in New Zealand. A great way to dip your toe into politics and figure what’s going on up there in the Beehive. 

Ologies: With Alie Ward

Take away a pocket full of science knowledge and charming stories about what fuels ‘-ologists’ obsessions. A really engaging and fun podcast about ‘ologies’ like virology, nephology, futurology, and cabinology with special guests on each topic.

Jesse from Fendalton Library’s favourite episode is Cabinology (Cabins) with Dave Mulfinger.

Reply All

My main listen is Reply All, a podcast about the internet. My favourite episodes are part of the Super Tech Support series where the public call them with tech issues no one else has been able to answer. It sounds dry but Reply All leads you on a journey into parts of the Internet you never knew about. For example, Lizzie’s Snapchat account has been hacked and she wants to find out who’s the creep who stole it (#130 The Snapchat Thief). The hosts PJ and Alex are funny and explain big concepts in a way that everyone can understand. Another stand-out episode is #109 Is Facebook Spying on You? – Everyone’s been asking it, does Facebook listen to you and plant ads about what you’ve been talking about?

Mark Manson – Audio Articles

Nicole from Linwood Library is a fan of Mark Manson’s writing. He’s the author of The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck and Everything is F*cked: A Book About Hope which should give you a good indication of what he’s about! He’s blended self-help with science and pragmatism. Mark Manson is very honest, swears a lot, but talks about hard stuff in a very accessible manner. His audio articles are reading of articles he’s written on a range of topics relating to growing up and living in this strange world of ours.

Anything Goes with Emma Chamberlain

YouTube sensation Emma Chamberlain has a LOT on her mind, luckily she has a podcast to talk about it all. Perfect for young adults, this podcast deals with conversations, thoughts and advice on topics like relationships, ridiculous stories, social media and high school. Jesse from Fendalton Library’s favourite episode is: High School

Just Between Us

Rachael C from Upper Riccarton Library suggests listening to Just Between Us. It’s hosted by YA authors Gaby Dun and Allison Raskin. We have their books I Hate Everyone but You and Please Send Help in the library and as eBooks – the characters in the books are based on them, so if you’ve read them you will have a pretty good idea of their voices. Gaby and Allison answer listener questions on everything from mental health to sex, interview interesting people and play an excellent game show called Hypotheticals – Would you stay this cheater? Is this person an alien or just rude? Are you a terrible parent? It’s laugh-out-loud funny, informative, and honest.

The Moth

I cannot get enough of The Moth – they’re an organisation promoting the art of storytelling and celebrating the diversity and commonality of human experience. The podcast presents a selection of recordings from live shows where people tell true stories from their lives. Some of those people are celebrities or famous in their profession, but most are ordinary people like you or me.  These stories can be funny, heart-wrenching, or insightful. There's often a warning before stories with mature themes or strong language. A perfect listen for people who love true stories.

Harry Potter and the Sacred Text

Harry Potter and the Sacred Text has a pretty odd concept - basically, two scholars who have backgrounds in spiritual practices treat the Harry Potter series as 'sacred'. Each 30 minute episode deals with one chapter, reading it through a specific theme. Ray the Youth Librarian says: If it sounds dry, I can promise you it isn't! It is sweet, funny, nerdy, honest, and thought-provoking, and provides a strong argument for maintaining 'spiritual' practices regardless of your belief system. They're up to book 6, so there's lots to get through! I've been particularly enjoying reading a chapter a week along with them.


Susan the Children's Librarian asked her teens what they've been listening to! Surely everyone read Harry Potter as a kid, right? Well, Mike Schubert didn’t and now he’s on a magical journey, reading the books as an adult. He sits down with Harry Potter fanatics to discuss his painfully incorrect predictions, poke fun at the plot, and exploring the world of Harry Potter. Super funny and witty. 

Who Would Win

Ann from Spreydon Library’s pick is Who Would Win. This is a fun one for comicbook lovers, science-fiction, and fantasy fans. It tackles variations of the age-old question – “who would win in a battle, Batman or Superman?”.  Hosts James Gavsie and Ray Stakenas debate who would win, with a guest judge supervising. Download the official set of rules and start your own debates!

What’s Good Games

Ann’s next pick is a podcast where three friends discuss video games. Andrea Rene, Brittney Brombacker, and Kristine Steimer have 30 years of experience in the games industry and bring you news, commentary, analysis, and funny stuff. What’s Good Games is upbeat, positive, and a great listen for those who love playing video games or interested in working in the industry.

Critical Role

Sally the School Librarian from Upper Riccarton High School asked her students what they love listening to. It's Critical Role - the world famous Dungeons and Dragons series! Dungeon Master Matthew Mercer sits down with his friends for an exhilarating game of D&D. Their first campaign was a whopping 373 hours of gameplay! If you're interested in learning about D&D or already a fan of the game, Critical Role is the listening entertainment you need. Also give The Adventure Zone a try for more D&D highjinks. 

Race Chaser

Stacey from Matuku Takotako: Sumner Centre’s pick is one for all the Rupaul Drug Race fans out there. Rupaul Drug Race alumni, Alaska and Willam, , discuss and disseminate their opinions on past and present seasons of the show. Their quirks and quips create a listening experience that grabs the audience's attention and keeps them wanting more. A great LGBTQIA podcast where everyone is welcome to listen. Note – can contain explicit language.


Jesse from Fendalton Library and myself are big fans of this amazing fictional podcast. Ten years ago, over three hundred people disappeared from a small town in Tennessee, never to be seen again. Reporter Lia Haddock takes us on a journey as she looks for an answer to the question “what happened at Limetown?”. This will appeal to fans of science-fiction, mystery, and true-crime podcasts. You’ll have a hard time believing that this podcast is fiction – it feels so real!

Welcome to Night Vale

This is a twice-monthly fictional podcast in the style of community radio updates for the small desert town of Night Vale. There’s local weather, news, announcements from the Sheriff’s Secret Police, mysterious lights in the night sky, dark hooded figures with unknowable powers, and cultural events. Another favourite from Jesse and I – I’ve even attended the live shows when the cast have toured New Zealand!

Wolf 359

This sci-fi/thriller fictional podcast is a favourite of mine. Set aboard the U.S.S Hephaestus space station, the dysfunctional crew deals with daily life-or-death emergencies, while searching for signs of alien life and discovering there might be more to their mission than they thought. There is a stand-out cast who truly bring the characters to life. You’ll feel the emotion in their voices.

As the story unfolds, it transforms from a funny drama to a thriller. The storytelling is fantastic and you’ll find yourself heavily invested in the stories of the complex characters. If you love mysteries and sinister sci-fi adventures, give Wolf 359 a try.

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