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Helen Pearse-Otene

Rongomaiwahine, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāpuhi, Te Rarawa, Ngāti Kuri, Ngāti Ruanui
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about Helen

Helen Pearse-Otene MA, PhD is a registered, practicing psychologist, theatre practitioner, veterans advocate, and researcher. Her work as a writer and facilitator has formed the heart of Te Rākau Theatre's creative work since 1999.


A compelling and eloquent writer, Helen's 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 where she gained her PhD in Psychology in 2022. ​

'She is a consummate dramatist whose work is, I believe, destined for classical status.'

- John Smythe, Theatreview

Helen engages 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.

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 consistently garnered standing ovations and ‘must-see’ status.

find out more

'Powerful, profound, haunting, healing'
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