Ella Yvette Henry

Ngāti Kurī

1954 -

Ella Henry was born in Kaitaia and educated at New Lynn Primary, Blockhouse Bay Intermediate, Kelston Girls’ High and Auckland Girls’ Grammar. From 1974-1984 she travelled and worked in Australia, Europe, Asia, Southern Africa and the USA. She attended the University of Auckland from 1986-1992 and graduated with B.A. in Sociology and Māori Studies in 1990. She has an M.Phil in Management Studies. She was President of the Auckland University Students’ Association in 1990 and attended Te Manu Aute Hui in 1991. She was New Labour Candidate for Mt. Roskill in 1990. She was awarded an MEF Scarce Skills Scholarship in Henry was appointed Executive Director of Greenpeace New Zealand in 1994. She has worked as a Senior Lecturer in Management at the Auckland Institute of Technology and has tutored and co-ordinated a postgraduate diploma in Māori Business and Development at Auckland University. Her first major literary work was the play Treat It Right!!. She also writes scripts for film and television production and does academic research. In 1989, she was writer/producer for "Na Te Whatu Māori", a documentary about the 1989 Māori Film Festival made with QEII support. In 1991 she was writer/script for "Māori Health", a documentary by Joe Bidois and Mark Teirney about Māori health and the marae made for Community Health Department. She was also writer/producer in 1992 for "Karanga", a script in development for NZ Film Commission which is a short drama about a Māori woman’s discovery of her heritage. In 1990 she wrote a Research Report entitled "Robertson Road Recapitation Forum" with Merimeri Penfold for the Ministry of Education. In August 1992, she wrote a conference paper entitled "Feminist Theory: an Overview" for the Women’s Studies Association Conference at the University of Auckland. In November 1992, she wrote a conference paper entitled "Study Skills for Māori Students" for the Australasian Association of Institutional Researchers’ "Futures" Conference at Waipuna Lodge. In February 1993, she gave a paper entitled "Diversity in Women’s Organizations" for the Fifth International Interdisciplinary Congress on Women at San Jose University, Costa Rica. She has also written an article entitled "Māori Business Values and Practice" for Business & New Zealand Society, a textbook by John Deeks published by Longman Paul in January 1994.

Biographical sources

  • Correspondence from Henry, 16 Dec. 1992.
  • Te Iwi o Aotearoa 31 (1990): 12.


  • Na Te Whatu Māori – Through the Eye of the Māori. Auckland University, 1989.
  • Co-authors Ella Henry and Liz Difiore. ‘A record of the 1989 Auckland University Māori Film Festival.’
  • Non-fiction

  • "Festival of Indigenous Film Aotearoa, 1990." Te Iwi o Aotearoa 21 (1989): 11.
  • Henry reports on the first planning hui held at Hoani Waititi Marae in May 1989 for the 1990 Festival of Indigenous Film Aotearoa.
  • "Māori Image In Māori Hands" OnFilm 6.5 (1989): 24-26.
  • An account of the work and vision of Te Manuka Films in producing a Māori drama series for television; the kaupapa was "Māori images in the hands of Māori people". Barry Barclay and Merata Mita state that the drama series evolved out of the impetus of Te Manu Aute, a Māori collective of communicators working in the film and video industry who "drew up an agenda relating to the industry and Māori people with a number of issues to be addressed and lobbied for." With funding coming from TVNZ and the Film Commission, five television dramas were produced: "Variations on a Theme’ written by Rawiri Paratene and directed by Don Selwyn; "Eel" written by Hone Tuwhare and directed by Joanna Paul; "Thunderbox" written by Bruce Stewart and directed by Lee Tamahori; "Roimata" written and directed by Riwia Brown; and "The Dream" written by Patricia Grace and directed by Rawiri Paratene and filmed in Māori.
  • "Short Ends: Indigenous Images." Onfilm 6.6 (1989): 2.
  • "Mana Waka." Onfilm 7.2 (1990): 21.
  • "Education Supplement Editorial." Dominion Sunday Times April 1990.
  • "Active from the Underbelly." Broadsheet 181 (1990): 23.
  • Henry discusses how her experience as a mature student and solo parent while attending university proved to be a catalyst for her increasing political consciousness. Through this, she recognised how Māori women, solo parents, low-income earners and students were particularly discriminated against by the "user pays" mentality of an increasingly "non-interventionist state"; this led her to standing as a New Labour candidate for Roskill.
  • "Ella Henry." Interview with Hineani Melbourne. Māori Sovereignty: The Māori Perspective. Auckland, N.Z.: Hodder Moa Beckett, 1995. 13-22.
  • In this discussion with Melbourne Henry describes her emerging Māori identity and defines what Māori sovereignty means to her. She notes the diversity of thought amongst Māori, talks of kaitiakitanga and conservation, and describes her work with Greenpeace.
  • "Making voices, being heard in Aotearoa/New Zealand." Organization: Social Organization of Knowledge 3.4 : 534-540
  • Co-authors Ella Henry and Judith K. Pringle.
  • "The Challenge of Preserving Indigenous Knowledge: A Model for Collaboration between Libraries and Māori." Library Life 261 (2001): 13-16.
  • "Honouring Māori Culture and Protocols." Employment Today 66 (2001): 41-42.
  • Imperialism versus Self-Determination. www.anewnz.org.nz/attachments/docs/ lead-or-be-led-ella-henry-imperialism-versus-s.doc19 June 2008.
  • Papers/Presentations

  • Day of Indigenous People at CSD-8 New York, 24 April – 5 May 2000. Panel I: Trade and Indigenous People. http://www.un.org/esa/sustdev/mgroups/mgipday3.htm 19 June 2008.
  • Performing Arts

  • Treat It Right!! [1990] No further details.
  • This was co-devised by Cathy Denford and Ella Henry. The final script was developed by Cathy and the cast in a series of workshops in which Ella participated. Cathy also produced and directed the stage production.


  • Course, Sharon. "Wise Words from the Aunties." New Zealand Woman’s Weekly 30 Apr. 2007: 30-31.
  • Du Chateau, Carroll. "Rights by the Left." New Zealand Herald 2 June 2001: E3.
  • "Fab @ 50." Tu Mai: Offering an Indigenous New Zealand Perspective 50 (2004): 24-25.
  • "First Māori Women President." Te Iwi o Aotearoa 23 (1989): 1.
  • Reporting on Henry’s election on 19th July 1989 as President of the Auckland University Students’ Association.
  • Francis, Russ. "Energetic New Student Leader Ready for Change." Dominion Sunday Times 20 Aug. 1989: 22.
  • Hewitson, Michele. "The Michele Hewitson Interview: Ella Henry." New Zealand Herald 14 July 2007: A28.
  • "Maori Women in Management Education." Te Māori News 2.21 (1993): 22.
  • "Director for Greenpeace." New Zealand Herald 25 Oct. 1994: 28.
  • "Ella Henry has been appointed a lecturer in Māori business in the Department of Management and Employment Relations." Tama Toa (Dec. 1996): 44.
  • "Profiles." Tirohia 2 (2001): 4.
  • "Ella Henry appointed to Human Rights Commmission." Tu Mai: Offering an Indigenous New Zealand Perspective 22 (2001): 5.
  • White, Margo. "Pride and prejudice." Metro (Auckland) 245 (2001): 66-72.
  • Reviews

    Treat It Right!!
  • Sydney, Karen. Te Iwi o Aotearoa 31 (1990): 12.
  • "Treat It Right - A Hit." Te Iwi o Aotearoa 33 (1990): 7.