Dr Helen Brookes

Helen Brookes

Helen grew up in Tapanui, a small rural town in West Otago where the top of the Blue Mountains to the Pomahaka River was her playground until she relocated to Dunedin aged 17. 

Her work ethic, personality, attitude and values were shaped by her parents and experiences from a young age. Frequently quoted old Scottish sayings applied in various contexts such as ‘where there’s a will, there’s a way’, ‘if you don’t succeed at first, try, try, try, again’ and ‘cut your cloth according to your means’ can often be applied to Helen's strength and resilience.

Helen is married to Terry Fowler, an Oamaruvian by birth. Helen has two adult sons and two grandchildren. Terry and Helen have owned a lifestyle property in the lower Waitaki Valley for 26 years, where Helen continues to follow her lifelong passion for the outdoors and horticulture through her establishment of shelter, amenity and fruit trees, shrubs, roses, flowers and for reasons of self-sufficiency, vegetables, berry fruits and nut trees.

Key experiences that have been influential to Helen include:

  • teaching new entrant five year old children until the arrival of own family;
  • her time as a university student after taking advantage of a ‘second chance opportunity’ policy at the University of Otago at the age of 32;
  • she holds a BA (Hons), BSc and PhD from University of Otago;
  • being an advocate for rural ratepayers as an elected local authority councillor;
  • working to ensure the protection of the lower Waitaki River from more hydro development;
  • working on new irrigation and rural water scheme proposals;
  • initiating and working on the establishment of Vanished World as a tourism draw card; and
  • looking out for the best interests of Network Waitaki consumers at both a local and national level.

Helen uses her advocacy skills on behalf of consumers at local and government/regulatory levels as and when required.