Dr Helene Diana Connor

BA., 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 is located within an interdisciplinary platform which includes:  the exploration of constructions of identity and multi-ethnic identity and the intersections between gender, ethnicity and cultural representation; narrative and auto/biographical research.  Facets of her research have a strong feminist theoretical perspective including Māori feminism, mana wahine Māori and women of colour feminism and feminist research on aspects of mothering. She is also interested in indigenous and settler relations and New Zealand colonial history.  Other areas of research 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 who wrote about the ‘Woman Question’.

Recent Publications:

Staniforth, B., & Connor, H. (2021). The koru model: The stages of biculturation for foreign-trained social workers in Aotearoa New Zealand. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work, 33(3), 6-19. https://anzswjournal.nz/anzsw/article/view/889

Staniforth, B., & Connor, H. (2021). “Biculturation”: Transnational social workers navigating movement into indigenous space in Aotearoa New Zealand. Qualitative Social Workhttps://doi.org/10.1177/14733250211052083

Connor, H. (2021). Ko te Rākau Hei Tohu Mō te Rangahau Me te Tuhi Whakapapa: Tree Symbolism as a Method for Researching and Writing Genealogy. Genealogy5(2), 29. doi:10.3390/genealogy5020029

Connor, H. (2021). Māori, monarchy and Meghan Markle: An indigenous perspective. Women's Studies International Forum. Volume 86, May–June 2021, 102458. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.wsif.2021.102458

Kan, KL, Connor, H., Beddoe, L. (2020).  Accessing Social Service Support: Barriers experienced by Chinese migrants living in Auckland, Aotearoa New Zealand. Aotearoa New Zealand Social Work. https://anzswjournal.nz/anzsw/article/view/800    

Teaching | Current

EDUC 211 - Schooling Ethnic Diversity - Course coordinator/administrator

EDUC 114 - Introduction to Māori Education - Course coordinator/administrator/Lecturer

EDUC 787 - Researching Māori Education - Course coordinator/administrator/Lecturer

EDUCSW101 -Te Ao Māori Lecturer



Postgraduate supervision

Current Supervision


  • Anna  Reeves -  Re-telling our stories: self-determination, healing, and engagement in contemporary Māori creative arts
  • Raima Hippolite (Holly Morgan) -   Making financial literacy relevant in struggling communities

  • Tania Whatarangi-Bell  - Attached to Whakapapa: Indigenising the Attachment Theory from a Kaupapa Māor Perspective

  • Elisabeth Price - Talking about death – how do New Zealand teachers feel about preparing primary aged students for experiences with death? 

  • Joanna Appleby -  Effective mental health practice with care-involved young people


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


  • Tania Doherty-McNab - Factors that lead to social work students to consider dropping out and factors that influence their decision to stay in study
  • Aoife Healy - Beyond Pākēha Paralysis: An Exploration of monoculturalism and Coastguard New Zealand and the significant changes required to become bicultural, relevant and conscious to Tangata Whenua and Te Ao Māori

Completed Supervisions

2021,  Sheena Taiamoni - The Rock of Polynesia: Niuean Values and Concepts in Sport and Physical Activity, MEd

2021, Atamarie Houpapa - Karanga: The connection to Te Ao Wairua. MEd.

2019, Kan King  Lok.  An Exploration of the Barriers of Accessing Social Support Experienced by Retired Chinese Migrants, Aged 65+ living in Auckland, Aotearoa/New Zealand.  MSW.

2019, Parangi, Emma.  Cultural Identity: A Teacher’s Autoethnographic Study of the New Zealand Early Childhood Education Context.  MEd.

2019, Fernée, Sharon. The Last Tool in the Toolbox: How Activity Centres are Experienced by Students. MEd.

2019. Peñaran, Angelica. From AZ to NZ; Critically Compassionate Intellectualism in Auckland for Pasifika Youth. Master of Social and Community Leadership.

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


  • Head of School (2020 -)
  • Associate Head of School,  Te Puna Wānanga, Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Auckland (2018- 2019)
  • Director, Postgraduate, Te Puna Wānanga, Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Auckland (2018- 2019)
  • Director, English Medium, Te Puna Wānanga, Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Auckland (2017-2019)
  • Director, Teaching and Learning, Te Puna Wānanga, Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Auckland (2017-)2019

Areas of expertise

  • Māori education
  • Social practice
  • Gender, feminism, Māori feminism, mana wahine Māori
  • Peace education
  • Culture and sociology of mothering
  • Identity politics, cultural identity
  • Transnational education and social practice
  • Refugee and migrant communities
  • Social justice
  • Spirituality in social practice
  • 19th Century Māori-Pākehā relationships
  • Victorian literature and Geraldine Jewsbury
  • Narrative inquiry and/or auto/biographical research

Committees/Professional groups/Services

  • Member, Faculty Academic Programmes Committee, Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Auckland (2020-)
  • Member, Workload and Timetabling Committee, Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Auckland (2020-)
  • Member, Faculty Operational and Leadership Team, Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Auckland (2020-)
  • Member, Initial Teacher Education (ITE) Board of Studies, Faculty of Education and Social Work, University of Auckland (2020-)
  • 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)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Connor, D. H. (2019). Whakapapa Back: Mixed Indigenous Māori and Pākehā Genealogy and Heritage in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Genealogy, 3 (4)10.3390/genealogy3040073
  • Connor, D. H. (2019). Meghan Markle’s Courtship of a Colonised Commonwealth. Connecting with Aotearoa/ New Zealand. London, England, UK. 15 November - 15 November 2019.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/49449
  • Connor, D. H., & Napan, K. (2019). Campfire sessions as pedagogy: A new twist on the indigenous art of story-telling. The Australian Journal of Indigenous Education10.1017/jie.2019.21
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/48956
  • Connor, D. H. (2019). Reflections on the letters of Geraldine Ensor Jewsbury (1812-1880) to Walter Baldock Durrant Mantell (1820-1895) with a focus on 1869. Paper presented at 1869 Conference and Heritage Festival, University of Otago, Dunedin. 25 September - 28 September 2019. (pp. 30).
  • Connor, H. (2019). Embracing Papatūānuku, the Earth Mother. Paradox and Tension within conceptualizations of Motherhood for Māori. Paper presented at Beyond Mothering Myths? Motherhood in an Age of Neoliberalism and Individualisation 9th International Conference on Mothering, Sydney, NSW, Australia. 10 July - 12 July 2019. Embracing Papatūānuku, the Earth Mother. Paradox and Tension within conceptualizations of Motherhood for Māori Program. Related URL.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/48108
  • Napan, K., Connor, H., & Toki, L. (2019). Cultural Pedagogy and Transformative Learning: Reflections on Teaching in a Māori Environment in Aotearoa/New Zealand. Journal of Transformative Education10.1177/1541344619858978
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/47870
  • 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.
    URL: http://hdl.handle.net/2292/41144
  • 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


Contact details

Primary office location

Level G, Room G01
New Zealand

Web links