Author, actor, director and film critic Helene Wong was born in Taihape, to parents whose families emigrated from China around the turn of the twentieth century.
She grew up as a New Zealander, pursuing a career that included theatre, film, television and the public service. While working as social policy adviser to Prime Minister Sir Robert Muldoon, she joined her parents to visit her father’s home village in southern China. The confrontation with her ancestral past sparked a three-decade quest to excavate her family’s history, examine the experience of Chinese immigrants in New Zealand, and resolve her own feelings about her identity.
The result was a memoir, Being Chinese: a New Zealander’s Story, published in 2016.
Helene continues to use her skills in the arts to further our knowledge about the Chinese community and its contribution to the story of New Zealand and has recently been awarded a ONZM for her work.