Helen Pearse-Otene

A compelling and eloquent writer, whose profoundly well-researched plays weave history and imagination to tell stories that are integral to the fabric of Aotearoa culture and society, Helen is a graduate of Victoria University of Wellington, Toi Whakaari: NZ Drama School, and Massey University. 

Critics have called her work “mythical, magical—and majestic”. They have found her writing “exquisite”, “uncompromising”, “stirring”, “richly textured, insightful, humorous, sobering and energising”. 

Helen’s plays in performance have repeatedly garnered standing ovations and ‘must-see’ status. All of these accolades—and more—are deserved. Helen is engaging with Aotearoa’s bicultural history and our place in the world through a unique blend of captivating characters, gripping narratives, emotional pathos and witty humour. 

As a writer and facilitator Helen has contributed to Te Rākau Theatre Trust’s residential work in prisons, youth residential homes, and on Marae since 1999. 

Helen graduated in 2022 with a  PHD in Psychology, and created the play The Swing as part of her research. Helen is also a registered practicing psychologist.