Audio Curios: Future Indicative

Recently Ngā Taonga acquired from RNZ a set of two radio series that have, over the last four decades, explored the issues and experiences of disability in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Spanning from 1978 to 2015 Future Indicative and One in Five offer us a fascinating insight into the changing attitudes and perceptions of disability over the last 37 years. 

Even the programme’s tag line demonstrates changes in language and attitudes.  The tag line for Future Indicative in 1978 was “Future Indicative: the concerns of those with disabilities and handicaps”.  It was later changed to  “Future Indicative:  A forum for the sharing and understanding of the special interests and concerns of the disabled”.  And finally “Future Indicative: Of special interest to people with disabilities”.

In 2002, the programme was replaced with “One in Five: the Issues and experience of Disability”.

In this excerpt from June 1984, Helen McConnochie the show’s first producer, introduces an item on diagnosing brain injuries by telephone.

Future Indicative, 17/06/1984

In total, we have acquired approximately 386* Future Indicative episodes and 526 One in Five episodes – a rich legacy of public radio programming.

*The smaller number of Future Indicative episodes is in part due to the Radio New Zealand practise of re-using master tapes.  Because of the cost of purchasing and storing open-reel-tape, once a regular programme had been broadcast the tape was generally erased and re-used.  This practise continued up until the late 1990s when CD-R technology and digital storage was introduced.  The Future Indicative episodes that survive are mostly on standard audio cassette.  These were probably dubbed off the master as a copy for the producer.

This post is part of the Audio Curios series. Radio Collection Developer Gareth Watkins regularly comes across interesting, unique, and sometimes downright puzzling bits of audio during his accessioning work. He’s going to share some of these audio treasures with you in the Audio Curios series, which will be posted here on the Gauge blog frequently.

Audio from Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision Radio Collection, all rights reserved. To enquire about re-use of these items please contact


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