Helen Kelly

Written By: - Date published: 9:15 am, July 13th, 2015 - 19 comments
Categories: leadership, Unions - Tags:

TVNZ Sunday had a great feature on Helen Kelly last night. A unionist, a leader, and a wonderful human being.


19 comments on “Helen Kelly”

  1. Detrie 1

    There was a time in NZ history when we had many people with Helens zeal and passion for the underdog entering parliament, most in the labour partly. Current nat Politicians, are all about power, money, self-interest and egos. It was noted in the story of the 450 friends that were at her recent wedding. Genuine friends that love her, not just those she has helped in her Union role. Few of us are this lucky to have touched so many in our short lives. An amazing story. An amazing life.

    • Anne 1.1

      This is a post about Helen Kelly and I’ll leave it to those who know her well to comment.

      But Detrie’s comment:

      Current nat Politicians, are all about power, money, self-interest and egos.

      While this is true of the neo liberal Nat. polliticians, it should be remembered that many of their forebears were not at all like them. Indeed some came to be well respected by all sides of the political spectrum – people such as Tom Shand, Ralph Hanan and Brian Talboys to name a few. They and their supporters really would be ‘spinning in their graves’ if they knew what was happening in the name of their beloved National Party.

      I feel sure Helen Kelly would agree with me. Her father was a prominent trade unionist during the period in question.

      • Detrie 1.1.1

        True indeed. I recall my late parents in the sixties still admiring Sir Keith, Tom, Brian and others, though they never voted for them. Even the misguided Muldoon still commanded some respect in the early years. Yes it is sad that the right have sunk this low. A Prime Minister especially was an honourable role. Now we have ‘casual Key’….

    • rhinocrates 1.2

      I had contact with her some years back when she was still in the education union and I needed their help for a long-running issue. I was very impressed.

      I think my bank manager was happy too.

      She’s committed and effective, and fostered people of similar quality around her.

    • Chooky 1.3

      +100 Detrie…a noble life given to the service of her fellow New Zealanders…she makes the world a better place!…and gives us all heart!

  2. Charles 2

    A nice story, and best wishes go out to Helen Kelly from me.

    To TVNZ Sunday, though: 12mins doing a magazine story on Helen Kelly, because she’s ill, how about 12mins every week giving air time to Helen to say what she knows about New Zealand, or air time to someone like her? I’ve seen how Helen was treated recently by the same media. A lifetime of views and insider reasoning, but the only time the media are interested and not talking over her, down to her, or telling her she only feels a certain way because she’s ill (Simon Dallow) is when her relative celebrity is threatened? But nah. Magazine stories only, eh.

    • Lanthanide 2.1

      Yeah, I had the same thought. How come we only get this sort of expose on a person when they’re on their way out?

  3. cogito 3

    Helen Kelly is an absolute inspiration.

    Go Helen, you are solid gold!

  4. Dorothy B 4

    When we review this time in history. I think that people will appreciate the good work of Helen Kelly and see through the spin to the poor achievement of this era for New Zealand. I have enough faith that people here will see the dead end road for a country with so much poverty, distain for our environment and lack of care for good people trying to do an honest day’s work.

  5. ianmac 5

    An impressive insight into the life of Helen, her compassion and single-mindedness and her passion. It is so sad that the Union movement has been scuppered.
    I kept on thinking as I watched this program last night that Helen Kelly and Helen Clark have so much in common. Personality, philosophy, commitment.

  6. fee 6

    Nomination for NZer of the year?

  7. RedLogix 7

    Huge personal admiration for her.

  8. Colonial Viper 8

    An amazing video of an amazing woman.

  9. I hate the way populist television can sashay from union bashing to a positive profile of a union leader because she has a terminal illness but it’s good that a wider audience get to know Helen Kelly for what she is – a sterling person who is steadfast to her collectivist principles and who is facing her mortality with immense courage and a good measure of wit and wisdom.

    In this venal and individualised world that makes her a rarity and very precious.

    The fact that she has a terminal illness is very, very sad but it will be a tragedy if we don’t ensure her life’s work is carried on, broadened and bears tangible benefits for working people. So – if we lose her – the best memorial will be shelving our petty political differences, uniting to increase trade union membership and to build other forms of collective action to fight for a better future.

    • Rosemary McDonald 9.1


      “…know Helen Kelly for what she is – a sterling person who is steadfast to her collectivist principles and who is facing her mortality with immense courage and a good measure of wit and wisdom.

      In this venal and individualised world that makes her a rarity and very precious.”



  10. aj 10

    An outstanding human being and irreplaceable to the union movement.

  11. the pigman 11

    Pretty upsetting stuff. Couldn’t have done better for a PM :'(

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