"I don't think I'm alone in this, that being given an award of this magnitude makes you feel extraordinarily humble. It's so astonishing to be given something which is, in essence, a tangible exhibition of others' belief in you and what you do...I am completely flabbergasted.The Award has encouraged me to think that maybe I am right to be doing what I'm doing! My 'career', if that's how it should be named, has never been something i have sought to create, it's just what I can't help doing!! I just want to be out there!! Laughing in the face of the demons, I potter on in the hope that I will do justice to whatever I perform and enjoy its manifestation...and that the audience will love me and what I do. I fell this Award has given me an injection of strength and resovle to keep on being the same girl - full of chutzpah!!"Helen Medlyn, on receiving her Laureate Award in 2002.

A self-confessed itinerant who lives out of a suitcase and looks after friends' houses, Helen also travels seamlessly between roles, stages and nations. From playing Fräulein Schneider in the Auckland Theatre Company's season of Cabaret, to singing Messiah with the Sydney Symphony Orchestra in the Sydney Opera House, to taking the 'trouser' role of Prince Orlovsky in the National Business Review New Zealand Opera season of Die Fledermaus, Helen does it all.

Helen was born in the United Kingdom, spent a year in Taranaki, and then grew up in Waitakere City's Henderson Valley. She began her dazzling career in 1982, dancing in the chorus of Evita during its New Zealand tour. By 1992, having worked at Auckland's Mercury Theatre for three years, her reputation had grown to the point that she came to the attention of Janice Webb, one of New Zealand's most prestigious vocal tutors, who remains Helen's singing teacher to this day.

Helen was made a Member of the Order (MNZM) in the 2013 Queen's Birthday Honours for her services to the performing arts.

Helen is now established as a regular guest artist with opera companies and orchestras throughout Australasia, Asia, America and Britain . She is rated among this country's finest dramatic singers and gains critical acclaim for her distinctive performances.