Prime Minister’s Daughter-in-Law Shares Life and Love in New Book

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Author Helen Henry publishes a riveting memoir, titled “My Kotuku of the South Seas.”

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Helen Henry, daughter-in-law of the late Sir Albert Henry, Cook Islands’ first prime minister after the country gained independence in 1965, publishes her remarkable life story, in My Kotuku of the South Seas. Helen’s memoir depicts a simple life in a much simpler time. Helen’s memoir is rich in her descriptions of friendship, harmony and love. She weaves a simple tapestry of the life of her family as they follow their dreams and aspirations.

Helen grew up in a sheltered and happy home in a leafy suburb of Auckland, New Zealand. She was only 15 years of age when she fell passionately in love with Hugh, a Pacific Island boy, at a time when multi-race marriages were frowned upon. Hugh’s father, Sir Albert Henry, advised Helen of the problems and disillusionment she might encounter, but she was not deterred. In fact, they were both more than ever determined to continue their relationship. Their romance blossomed and in 1961, they married.

Rarotonga, the capital island of the Cook Islands, was a tropical paradise for Helen, Hugh and their family of four sons and one daughter. The lifestyle was a far cry from the sheltered upbringing of Auckland, where family and friends were only a phone call away. They struggled to make ends meet, but every day was a new challenge and adventure. Together they created a home where their two cultures and traditions intertwined. Above all, their household resonated with love, laughter and chaotic carefree days, as they brought up five barefoot children.

There were moments of drama when they were caught up in the political turmoil of a small nation forging its own destiny. Helen experienced deep sadness and despair when Hugh suddenly and unexpectedly passed away. She was left to continue her journey alone. Out of the blue, Helen finds a second love and marries John Hay, an environmental scientist and Nobel Peace Prize winner. They share a love of traveling to exotic and exciting places around the world. However, most of all they enjoy relaxing on the verandah of their home in Rarotonga.

My Kotuku of the South Seas is one woman’s remarkably inspiring journey with strong threads of family, harmony and unity. In all her trying times, Helen finds constant solace in the appearance of ‘The Kotuku’ the beautiful bird she loved as a child and which she now recognizes as a symbol of enduring comfort.

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My Kotuku of the South Seas * by Helen Henry
Living and Loving in Rarotonga - A Memoir
Publication Date: March 9, 2013
Trade Paperback; NZ$34.99; 286 pages; 978-1-4797-8797-5
Trade Hardback; NZ$54.99; 286 pages; 978-1-4797-8798-2
Ebook: NZ$5.99; 978-1-4797-8799-9

Members of the media who wish to review this book may request a complimentary paperback copy by contacting the publisher at 0800-891-366. To purchase copies of the book for resale, please fax Xlibris at (09) 353-1455 or call 0800-891-366.

For more information, contact Xlibris at 0800-891-366 or on the web at

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