Helen Elizabeth Clark was born 26 February 1950, in Hamilton on the North Island of New Zealand. She attended Epsom Girls Grammar School in Auckland, and studied Political Studies at the University of Auckland. In 1974 she graduated with an MA with Honors from the University of Auckland. Her research was on political behavior and representation. From 1973–75 she was a junior lecturer in Political
Studies at the University of Auckland. In 1976 she studied abroad on a University Grants Committee post-graduate scholarship. From 1977 until her election to Parliament in 1981, she lectured in political studies at Auckland. She enjoys classical music, films, theater, opera, and racquet sports.