Dr Helene Diana Connor

DipTchg(Sec) PGDipWomSt Massey, MEd 1st class hons, PhD


Iwi and hapu Affiliations: Te Atiawa and Ngati Ruanui iwi (tribes) and Ngati Rahiri and Ngati Te Whiti hapu (sub-tribes).


Ko Taranaki tōku maunga

Ko Waitara tōku awa

Ko Owae Waitara tōku marae

Ko Tokomaru tōku waka

Ko Te Atiawa me Ngati Ruanui ōku iwi

Ko Ngati Rahiri me Ngati Te Whiti ōku hapu

Ko Ngatata tōku tupuna

Ko Helene Connor tōku ingoa


Helene is of Māori, English and Irish descent.  She has whakapapa (genealogy) links to Te

Atiawa and Ngati Ruanui iwi (tribes) and Ngati Rahiri and Ngati Te Whiti hapu (sub-tribes).

Research | Current

Helene’s research interests include:  the exploration of constructions of identity and multi-ethnic identity and the intersections between gender, ethnicity and cultural representation; narrative and auto/biographical research; Māori feminism, mana wahine Māori and women of colour feminism and research on aspects of mothering. She is also interested in  indigenous and settler relations, New  Zealand colonial history.  Other areas of interest include: 19th century literature and the lives of 19th century  women novelists, particularly from the North of England, such as Geraldine Jewsbury, Elizabeth Gaskell and  the Brontë sisters.

Teaching | Current

EDUC 211 - Schooling Ethnic Diversity - Course coordinator/administrator

EDUC 712 - Race, Ethnicity and Education - Course coordinator/administrator

EDUC 114 - Introduction to Māori Education - Lecturer

EDUC 787 - Researching Māori Education - Lecturer

EDCURRIC 230 - Physical Education Ngā Kākano - Lecturer

SOCWORK 114 - Treaty of Waitangi in Human Services - Lecturer

SOCWORK 212 - Bicultural Social Work Practice - Lecturer

Postgraduate supervision

Current Supervision


  • Riripeti Haretuku –  A collective biography of Māori whānau who have been impacted by the sudden and unexpected death of an infant (SUDI). EdD


  • Angelica Peñaran - From AZ to NZ; Critically Compassionate Intellectualism in Auckland for Pasifika Youth. Master of Social and Community Leadership
  • Katarina Bruce – Hei tautoko i ngā mātua e whāngai ana i te reo Māori ki ā rātou tamariki i te kāinga. Supporting parents teaching Māori to their children at home
  • Lok Kan King –  The problem of Social isolation for retired (65+) Chinese migrants in Aotearoa/New Zealand 
  • Emma Parangi – Developing Māori Learner's Cultural Identities through the Integration of Mātauranga and Tikanga Māori in mainstream Early Childhood Education
  • Sheena Taiamoni - Traditional Niuean games:  Sport & Play in Physical Education

Completed Supervisions

2018. Goodliffe, Rosamund. Moments Meaning and Metaphor: Self Reflections of a Life Coach as a Social Practitioner. MSocP.

2018. Bullen, Joy Rangi. The effectiveness of the Ōrongomai Marae community reintegration programme led by ex‐prisoners in Aotearoa / New Zealand. MSocP

2016. El Haddad, Mira. Youth helpline:  Who, how and why? MAP.

2016. McVeigh, Anna.  Spirituality in practice:  An exploration into narrative practitioners’ approaches to addressing spirituality in counselling practices. MSocP

2016. Dzadya, Sifiso. Perspectives on the effectiveness of a Zimbabwean youth justice framework in meeting the needs of both young offenders and society. MSocP.

2016. Saythongmany, Sisamouth. The benefits of keeping Hmong girls enrolled I primary education in Luang Prabang province of Lao People’s Demoncratic Republic (Lao PDR):  Teachers and parents/guardians viewpoints and perspectives. MSocP.

2015. Yusuf, Issa.  The Somali Diaspora:The integration and re-establishment of the community of Somali refugees in Aotearoa/New Zealand. MSocP.

2015. Sek, Samnieng. Young Provincial Cambodian University Students’ Perceptions and Reflections on their Future Opportunities While Coping With their Contemporary Lives. MSocP.

2015. Winter, Tracey. What lies within?:  An exploration of asset based community development (ABCD). MSocP.

2014. Nedungat, Dheep. Reclaiming the feminine: A co-operative inquiry on the embodied experience of the divine feminine in social practice. MSocP.

2013. Phanit, Soukphaphone. The relationship between the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) and the ASEAN Commission for the promotion and protection of the rights of women and children. MSocP.

2013. Uluave, Maile Finau.  Toulanganga:  A model for community engagement and social enterprise. MSocP.

2013. LeDoux-Taua’aletoa, Selina. In what ways can Multi-generational Samoan Households contribute to Societal and Collective Values about Aiga/Families, in Contemporary Aotearoa/Niu Sila? MSocP.

2011. Githinji, Rosabel Wanjiku.  Application of information and communication technologies for development (ICT4D) in a rural community in Kenya:  An ethnographic study. MSocP.

2011. Kominami, Hiromi. Lost in Translation:  The Sakura and the Pohutukawa.   The Japanese in Aotearoa/New Zealand.  MSocP.

2011. Pouesi, Fay.  Te Puawaitanga O Te Ngākauf:  A Case–Study of Westside Counselling Services in West Auckland. MSocP.

2011. Nazari, Flora.  Non-Muslim Social Practitioners working with Muslim clients in the Aotearoa/New Zealand context:  Identifying issues in practice. MSocP.

2010. Njeri, Matogo Joyce. The impact of customs and sexual practices on young Maasai women’s ability to negotiate their sexual and reproductive health in relation to HIV and AIDs in Loitokitok, Kenya. MSocP.

2009. Bruning, Jane.  Stigma and women living with HIV.  A co-operative inquiry. MSocP.

2008. O’Reilly, Denis.  Mahi Whanau ora:  Reflecting on the impact of Cardsort as an effective process for whanau Maori to construct a future narrative.  MSocP.


  • 2010 Faculty Leadership Award, Faculty of Social and Health Sciences, Department of Social Practice, Unitec New Zealand
  • 2006 Te Amorangi National Academic Excellence Award (presented to Māori PhD graduates)
  • 1997 Māori Education Trust, Ti Maru Prestigious Professions Scholarship
  • 1996 University of Auckland Doctoral Scholarship
  • 1994 University of Auckland Te Ahorangi Matauranga Prize (Senior Māori Postgraduate Scholar in Education)
  • 1994 University of Auckland Māori and Polynesian Graduate Scholarship
  • 1994 Māori Education Trust, Professions Scholarship
  • 1993 Fowlds Memorial Prize awarded for the most distinguished student in the Faculty of Education
  • 1993 Habens Prize awarded to the top student in the Faculty of Education


  • Associate Head of School,  Te Puna Wānanga, Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Auckland (2018-)
  • Director, Postgraduate, Te Puna Wānanga, Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Auckland (2018-)
  • Director, English Medium, Te Puna Wānanga, Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Auckland (2017-)
  • Director, Teaching and Learning, Te Puna Wānanga, Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Auckland (2017-)

Areas of expertise

  • Māori education
  • Social practice
  • Gender, feminism, Māori feminism, mana wahine Māori
  • Peace education
  • Women and HIV
  • Research on Mothering
  • Identity politics, cultural identity
  • Marginalised experiences
  • Transcultural education and social practice
  • Refugee and migrant communities
  • Social justice
  • Spirituality in social practice

Committees/Professional groups/Services

  • Member, Postgraduate Committee, Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Auckland (2018-)
  • Member, Teaching and Learning Quality Committee, Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Auckland (2017-)
  • Member, Education in Liberal Arts Programme Committee, University of Auckland (2017-)

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Connor, H. (2018). Piety, perils and place: Pilgrimage to Saint Catherine of Alexandria's Monastery. Paper presented at ANU (Australian National University) Religion Conference: Sacred Sites / Sacred Stories: Global Perspectives, Canberra, Australia. 5 April - 7 April 2018. Related URL.
  • Napan, K., & Connor, D. H. (2018). Walking the bi-cultural talk in Aotearoa. Paper presented at Ako Aotearoa Academy of Tertiary Teaching Excellence Conference, Talking Teaching - Engaging Teaching, Inspiring Learning, Christchurch, New Zealand. 29 November - 30 November 2018. Related URL.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/45507
  • Connor, D. H. (2018). Wark, Elizabeth Cecilia (Betty). https://teara.govt.nz/en/biographies/6w2/wark-elizabeth-cecilia-betty. Related URL.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/45579
  • Connor, D. H. (2017). Moemoeā: Māori Counselling Journeys. (2017). Editors: Kathie Crocket, Eugene Davis, Elmarie Kotzé, Brent Swann, and Huia Swann. Dunmore Publishing Ltd, Auckland, New Zealand. [Book Review]. The New Zealand Journal of Counselling, 37 (2), 128-131. Related URL.
  • Connor, H., Ayallo, I., & Elliott, S. (2017). African mothers’ experiences of raising ‘Afro-Kiwi kids’ in Aotearoa / New Zealand. Australasian Review of African Studies, 38 (2), 87-107. 10.22160/22035184/ARAS-2017-38-2/87-107
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/40380
  • Connor, H., & Buccahan, L. (2017). Leadership through peer mediation: Research report. [Auckland, New Zealand]: Unitec ePress.
  • Connor, D. H., Burford, L., & Buccahan, L. (2016). Leadership through peer mediation. Assessing programme impact in eight Auckland secondary schools. Auckland: www.peace.net.nz. Related URL.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/34003
  • Connor, D. H. (2016). Biculturalism, Women’s Collectives, Māori Feminism and Mana Wāhine Māori De-Storying Narratives of Mono-culturalism within Postcolonial Aotearoa/New Zealand. Paper presented at De/Storying the Joint: AWGSA Biennial International Conference, QUT, Gardens Point, Brisbane. 29 June - 1 July 2016. Related URL.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/33546


Contact details

Primary office location

Level G, Room G01
New Zealand

Web links