Averil Herbert

Ngāti Maniapoto

1948 -

Averil Herbert was born in Te Awamutu and educated at Te Awamutu College. She graduated with a B.A. and an Masters in Psychology from the University of Canterbury in 1972, and a Diploma of Clinical Psychology from Waikato University in 1987. Averil initially taught in secondary schools in Christchurch, Edinburgh and Rotorua. She has subsequently been employed as a clinical psychologist in Rotorua Hospital, the Department of Social Welfare and Waiariki Polytechnic. She is currently lecturing in clinical psychology at Waikato University and is working on a doctorate on child and family work with a Māori focus. Averil has had an active involvement with Nga Puna Waihanga: she became a member in 1982 and was appointed as its Secretary in 1984. Averil is a weaver and is interested in the whole area of weaving and conservation. She assisted in the publication of Jan van de Klundert’s Te Kono Naku Raranga Harakeke in 1996. Averil has been secretary for Apumoana Marae Committee since 1983.

Biographical sources

  • Interview, phone conversation and correspondence with Averil Herbert, August 1992, 4 August 1998 and 19 May 2004.


  • Apumoana O Te Ao Hou. Te Whakatuwheratanga O Te Whare Whakairo, 4th June 1988. [Comp. Averil Herbert]. [Rotorua, N.Z.]: The Apumoana Marae Committee, Ian Bryce Printers, [1988]
  • This guide to the Apumoana Marae contains a short history of Te Arawa taken from Don Stafford’s History of Te Arawa. It also includes a history of the old wharenui at Apumoana Marae and an account of restoring the old marae in 1974. The authors provide a description of the building of a new dining hall, ablution block and wharenui and give background notes for the carved poupou, kowhaiwhai patterns and tukutuku panels.
  • Pingao: The Golden Sand Sedge. Comp. Averil Herbert and Jenny Oliphant. Rotorua, N.Z.: Nga Puna Waihanga, Ian Bryce Printers, 1991.
  • A comprehensive study assessing the current state and survival of the formerly prolific pingao, or golden sand sedge, which has now become locally extinct in some areas of New Zealand. The authors retell the traditional stories of the origin of pingao which is unique to New Zealand. They also present oral commentaries on the plant from key weavers from Kawhia/Maniapoto, Rarawa/Aupouri, Whanganui/Aotea, Tolaga Bay and Te Wai Pounamu. The authors look at the beneficial qualities of pingao as opposed to marram grass as a form of erosion control in special projects all over the country. They also provide detailed information on propagating the plant from seed, and on cutting and transplantion and they discuss the traditional methods of propagation.
  • "Te Moana." Nga Puna Waihanga Annual Hui: Te Rua Tekau Tau 1973-1993. Comp. Averil Herbert. [ Rotorua, N.Z.]: Nga Puna Waihanga, Ian Bryce Printers, 1993.
  • A publication written to celebrate the 20 year anniversary of Nga Puna Waihanga. It contains an overview of the last twenty years written by Averil Herbert, a selection of photographs, written work and art work by Nga Puna Waihanga members, and a programme of events for the 1993 Nga Puna Waihanga hui at Te Kaha.
  • "The Treaty of Waitangi in Clinical Psychology Training at the University of Waikato." Bulletin/New Zealand Psychological Society 93 (1998): 12-14, 18.
  • "The Treaty of Waitangi in Clinical Psychology Training at the University of Waikato." Bulletin/New Zealand Psychological Society 94 (1998): 24-26, 32.
  • "Bicultural partnerships in clinical training and practice in Aotearoa/New Zealand." New Zealand Journal of Psychology 31.2 (2002): 110-116.
  • "Victimisation among those involved in underage commercial sexual activity." Women’s Studies Journal 19.2 (2005): 32-40.
  • Co-authors Miriam Saphira and Averil Herbert.


    Pingao: The Golden Sand Sedge.
  • "Pingao: The Story of NZ’s Golden Sand Sedge." Commercial Horticulture October, 1991: 41.
  • "Booklet Combines the Science, Art of Weaving with Pingao." Daily Post 22 May 1991. No further details.
  • Mowbray, Trevor (and others). "Non-fiction." InfoChoice: A Buying Guide for Secondary School Libraries 12 (1991): 4-7.