The Housing and Urban Settings group provides advice to the Government on peoples’ experience of housing, whether they are homeless, live in public or transitional housing, or rent or own their home. They advise on ways to prevent and reduce homelessness, how to influence the number of houses built and how to build communities that people feel connected to. The group works closely with HUD’s Place-based Policy and Programmes group to adapt national policy settings to suit local needs.
Helen has strong leadership and governance experience across a range of sectors including social development and education. She is committed to empowering female leaders, having previously represented New Zealand at the United Nations as lead negotiator at the Commission on the Status of Women.
Helen joined HUD in June 2019 as Deputy Chief Executive, Office of the Chief Executive, and began leading the Housing and Urban Settings group in January 2020. Prior to HUD she held roles as Policy Director and Acting Chief Executive at the Department of Internal Affairs and Ministry for Women.
Helen is passionate about making a real difference to the lives of New Zealanders through housing and creating a sense of community. Her leadership approach is grounded in inspiring and supporting others through role-modelling and providing the context, connections and culture that enable people to do their best work.
Helen is of Ngāti Porou, Tapuika and Ngāi Tahu descent.