Given names: 
Given address: 
Sheet No: 525
Manawatu / Horowhenua

Biographical information provided by Briar Barry for the He Tohu exhibition:

Helen Ostler (daughter of Emma Brignell Ostler who signed sheet 497) was nailing shingles onto the roof of her house when she met her future husband, Charles Kendall Wilson, a farmer. They married in 1892. Charles entered politics as a Reform Party candidate and was member of Parliament for Taumarunui from 1911 until 1914. In the mid-1920s he persuaded Helen to attend a meeting in Whanganui of the newly formed Women's Division of the New Zealand Farmers' Union (WDFU). She soon became heavily involved. For her work she received a coronation honour, the OBE, in 1937 and in 1939 she was made a justice of the peace.

Helen was also a successful writer. A novel, Moonshine, was published in 1944, but it was her autobiography, My First Eighty Years (1950), that brought her acclaim and is regarded as a New Zealand classic. It was followed by another novel, Land of my Children (1955), and numerous articles and radio broadcasts.

 See also her Dictionary of New Zealand Biography entry on Te Ara and a short biography and audio of her talking on Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision


Click on sheet number to see the 1893 petition sheet this signature appeared on. Digital copies of the sheets supplied by Archives New Zealand.

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