Helen Edwards née Buchanan

Ngāti Raukawa

1948 -

Helen was born in Dunedin and educated at High Street School, Arthur Street School and Otago Girls’ High School. She attended the University of Otago and graduated with a B.A. in English in 1970. She worked as a librarian in the Science Library at the University of Otago until her retiremet and has obtained a Dip. NZLS, ANZLA. Her main area of writing is non-fiction family histories and biographies.

Biographical sources

  • Interview and correspondence with Helen Edwards 7 Feb. 1996 and 5 June 1998.
  • Correspondence from Helen Edwards, 8 May 2004.


  • "A Girl from the Past." Playdate (1969/70): 62-63.
  • Written under the name Helen Buchanan A story exploring the uncertainties of a romantic relationship.
  • Non-fiction

  • "The Hocken - Indefatigable Doctor’s Legacy." New Zealand Book World 5 (1973): 33-34.
  • A history of the Hocken Library with biographical notes on its founder Thomas Morland Hocken and a description of the enormous scope of his historic collection.
  • Blue Jacket and Sailor Suits. Dunedin, N.Z.: Helen Edwards, 1996.
  • A historical biography of John and Mary Collins who lived in Christchurch, England, in the late 18th century, and of their descendants who emigrated to New Zealand in the second half of the 19th century. These include James Motteshead Collins who married Annie Cook of Ngāti Raukawa.
  • Limehouse Reach. Dunedin, N.Z.: Helen Edwards, 1996.
  • Edwards writes a family history of the descendants of Captain James William Burgess and his wife Elizabeth Burgess née Blackburn.
  • Gordon Buchanan: Memories of My Father. Dunedin, N.Z.: Helen Edwards, 2003.
  • Gone the Way of All the Earth: Letters from Kirkintilloch Weaver. Dunedin, N.Z.: Helen Edwards, 2003.


  • Te Rauparaha: A Select Bibliography. Comp. Helen Buchanan. [Wellington, N.Z.]: [New Zealand] Library School, National Library of New Zealand, 1970.
  • This annotated select bibliography of works relating to the life of Te Rauparaha opens with an introduction outlining the scope of the bibliography. It also includes a chronology of Te Rauparaha’s life. The bibliography is divided into three sections: primary sources, secondary sources, and portraits. The compiler notes that the bibliography excludes archival materials.