Media Releases

A Wrinkle in Time – a new look at ageing

Released at 4:49 pm on 13 July 2016

For RNZ presenter Noelle McCarthy, creating her first podcast series - exploring ageing - was a profoundly meaningful experience.

“When we talk about ageing, we are talking about what it means to be human. I knew that when I started, but it took making six episodes of A Wrinkle in Time to feel it fully.”

In A Wrinkle in Time, which goes live on on Wednesday, July 20, Noelle talks to a broad range of people - healthcare workers, scientists, economists and other experts, as well as everyday kiwis about their experiences of getting older.

“The universality of the subject means everybody has something to say about ageing. And it’s a timely matter; the huge leap in longevity over the last 150 or so years, has massive consequences for life on this planet.”

Noelle spoke with over 100 people from several different countries, aged 4 to 101, and the conversations were bittersweet, honest and emotional.  Conversations about what it’s like to grow up, move through life, find people to love, and cope when we lose them.

To change, grow, and to keep going, even as the years take an inevitable toll on the body, mind, and sometimes the spirit.

Take Daphne who appears in episode 3. As Noelle investigates how our brains change as we get older, Daphne is interviewed alongside neuroscientist Richard Faull and CK Stead our Poet Laureate.

At the age of 101 she showcases not only her fabulous musical skills but her inspirational resilience.

“The richest part of making this series for me, were the interviewees who shared their honest experiences of getting older” says Noelle, who spent many months researching, interviewing and shaping the stories and found producing the series in a podcast format more intimate than live broadcasting.

“You have more time to spend with people, to step into their lives and capture the intimacy of their environment. It felt more personal and I think that allowed for frank conversations. They were so willing to share.

In supporting videos to go with the series, you will see young people reading out letters they’ve written to themselves later in life and older people reading out letters  they’ve written to themselves as teenagers.

“Bette Davis was right – “old age ain’t no place for sissies”- but the honest, funny, graceful testimony of the men and women I interviewed has shown me I don’t have to fear getting older.”

A Wrinkle in Time has six 30-minute episodes and will be released weekly on the RNZ website, along with a video produced during the making of the series, and also on iTunes. The series will also be broadcast on RNZ National starting Sunday 24 July during Sunday Morning with Wallace Chapman.


We’re all living longer than ever before and there’s never been so much pressure to spend these - hopefully lengthy- lives looking and feeling young. How does this affect our 21st century experience of ageing?

How do we want to age? And how much control will we have over the process? Noelle visits the Dunedin Study, and finds out why the most accurate measure of your age might not necessarily be your birthday.

How do our brains change as we get older? Noelle finds out, with the help of a neuroscientist, a centenarian, and a Poet Laureate.

An honest look at ageism, pension costs, and intergenerational tension.

Who will take care of us when we can’t take care of ourselves? And how much choice will we have in the matter, once the time comes? We’ll explore a radical new model for care homes, and a former rest home worker tells her story.

Death is the natural culmination of the ageing process, but it can seem like an abstract idea, until it affects us directly.  Former CTU president Helen Kelly talks about her own terminal diagnosis, nurse Bronnie Ware explains why her Regrets of the Dying blog went viral, and US news anchor Tom Brokaw and his daughter have advice about how to get difficult end-of-life care conversations started.

A Wrinkle in Time –  six 30-minute episodes from Wednesday 20 July on

Also on Sunday Morning with Wallace Chapman from Sunday 24 July on RNZ National101FM

For further information please contact Noelle McCarthy who is available for interviews.

Phone: 021 213 4193
Twitter: @noellevivien

What’s it like getting older? Have a sneak preview here: