Beaglehole, Helen 1946-

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Beaglehole, Helen 1946-

PERSONAL: Born November 27, 1946, in New Zealand; father, a managing director; mother’s name, Elizabeth Bisley; married Tim Beaglehole (a university teacher and administrator); children: John, Toby, Charlotte. Ethnicity: “New Zealander.” Education: Victoria University of Wellington, B.A., 1968, diploma (educational studies), 1974; Wellington Teachers College, diploma (teaching), 1978; Whitireia Polytechnic, certificate, 1995. Politics: “Left.” Hobbies and other interests: Sailing, “tramping,” mountain biking.

ADDRESSES: Home—Wellington, New Zealand. E-mail[email protected]

CAREER: Teacher, 1977-80; held advisory and assistant advisory positions with New Zealand Ministry of Commerce and Departments of Trade and Industry, Labour, and Social Welfare, between 1980 and 1989; senior policy analyst for New Zealand Ministries of Commerce and Women’s Affairs, between 1989 and 1994; freelance editor, 1996—; Victoria University of Wellington, teacher of policy writing, 1999. New Zealand Book Council, member, 1996—, member of board of directors, 1997—. Women’s Electoral Lobby, member of executive group, 1989-93. Wellington Girls’ College, member of board of trustees, 1990-93.

MEMBER: New Zealand Society of Authors (chair of Wellington branch and member of national executive body, 1995-97); Wellington Children’s Book Group, Society for Research on Women, Amnesty International.AWARDS, HONORS: Grants from Queen Elizabeth II Writers Project, 1992, and Queen Elizabeth II New Zealand Authors Scheme, 1994; writing fellowship, Reader’s Digest, New Zealand Society of Authors, and Stout Research Centre, 1995; grants from New Zealand Ministry of Culture and Heritage, 2003, and Australian Sesquicentennial Gift Trust, 2004.



Two Tigers, illustrated by Lesley Moyes, Shearwater Books (Washington, DC), 1993.

Strange Company (novel), Cape Catley (Auckland, New Zealand), 1996.

Plum Stones, illustrated by Craig Smith, Roland Harvey (Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1999.

John’s Remarkable Day, illustrated by Craig Smith, Roland Harvey (Port Melbourne, Victoria, Australia), 1999.


The Family Album, Cape Catley (Auckland, New Zealand), 1997.

Because He’s My Brother, Mallinson Rendel (Wellington, New Zealand), 1998.

Hanging on Letting Go, Mallinson Rendel (Wellington, New Zealand), 1999.

War Zones, Steele Roberts (Wellington, New Zealand), 2005.


Lighting the Coast: A History of New Zealand’s Coastal Lighthouse System, Canterbury University Press (Christchurch, New Zealand), 2006.

Contributor to periodicals, including Education, Listener, and Input.

SIDELIGHTS: Helen Beaglehole once told CA: “I wrote a lot as a child, but it was only as a parent, reading to my own children, that I thought I could do as well. I started, very much part time, and fitted writing into a busy job and family life. Later I worked a four-day week, and my writing became a refuge from a busy office and an opportunity for access into the world that writers carry in their heads. Now I divide my time between my own writing and the writing and editing I do on contract for the government—and sailing, tramping, and mountain biking.

“My early books—the illustrated books—I conceived as a way of bridging a gap that I’d discovered with my own children. We all needed something between the two-to-three-lines-a-page books and Winnie the Pooh. But those books, and my later ones for older readers, all spring from passionately held beliefs: that you don’t write down to children; that the tradition of stories being used to explore human conflicts or questions around the human condition should constantly be revitalized by children’s authors who are writing about issues that engage and interest them; that endings should provide hope and a way to the future; and that books should offer readers a world beyond their own. Start with the familiar, if you must, but don’t shackle yourself or your reader with it.”



Magpies, March, 1999, review of Because He’s My Brother, p. 8.