HELEN KELLY: REBECCA MACFIE
Helen Kelly lived and died a fighter. The daughter of prominent unionist Pat Kelly and Vietnam activist Catherine Eichelbaum, Kelly was destined for a life of political engagement. She held senior positions in a labour movement that was dominated by men, including serving as the president of the New Zealand Council of Trade Unions for many years. Diagnosed with lung cancer, she campaigned for both the right to use medicinal cannabis and the right to die with dignity, before her untimely death at the age of 52. Award-winning journalist Rebecca Macfie, whose previous work includes Tragedy at Pike River Mine: How and Why 29 Men Died now delivers Helen Kelly: Her Life, a biography of one of New Zealand’s political legends, whom she describes as “a fireball of charm, grit, humour and piercing analysis”. Macfie speaks with Toby Manhire.