Helen lives in Earthsong, an eco-neighbourhood in West Auckland where she 'walks the talk' of living lightly on the earth. Her first novel 'A Place to Stand' explores the theme of how immigrants to New Zealand manage to make deep connection to their new land, and learn to feel at home in it. She has drawn on her own experience as an immigrant from the UK in the 1950's and her childhood in Kawerau, a new town in the Bay of Plenty where everyone was an immigrant. A long term activist, she has just published her second novel 'A Striking Truth', which explores the effect on a the same small town of an ill-fated strike in 1986 at the local mill. She opens the question of how this impacted not only on the town, but on unionism and New Zealand labour law. This book won the Bert Roth Labour History Award in 2018. Prior to completing the Masters in Creative Writing at Auckland University of Technology, she worked for twenty five years as a child psychologist and brings a deep knowledge and compassion for humanity to her writing.
- Short story writing
Earthsong, Ranui, Auckland
A Place to Stand
A poignant novel exploring the effects of migration on a family from the UK in the 1950s.
A Striking Truth
Leo Harris, union president at the mill in a one-industry town in the rural heartland, has a problem. "So long as I live and breathe," he says. "I'll stand up to power." But the mill's CEO insists "This was a showdown waiting to happen." It's 1986 and the entire town and its people are caught in the stalemate between the two. This story of deeply-held conflicts that brings alive a time in New Zealand's history when the very foundations of our political identity changed dramatically.