Christine Hellyar was born and raised in New Plymouth, New Zealand. She is still inspired by the beaches and bush from there as well as places near Auckland where she now lives.
Her love of museums, both private and public, also comes from this time; she often visited Fred Butler at his home and museum with her father. The New Plymouth artist, Don Driver, has been a life long friend and mentor.
She spent four years as a student at Auckland University specialising in sculpture. From this time she was influenced by Louise Bourgeois and Robert Smithson. The topic for her dissertation in 1969 was "Landscape Sculpture". This is also when she first used latex. Hellyar lived and travelled in the South Island in 1970. She returned to Auckland for three years and then spent 1974 living and travelling in Europe, living mostly in Fowey in Cornwall.
She returned to travelling around Europe in 1977 and lived in Edinburgh until the end of 1978. From here she visited Egypt and then returned to New Zealand via much of the U.S.A. She started teaching part time at Elam, School of Fine Arts, University of Auckland in 1981 and was there until 1996 when she left to work full time in her studio. During this time she was awarded the first Adam Award for her significant contribution to New Zealand Art. This allowed her to make her first large outdoor bronzes. She also travelled further, to Europe again but also to Australia, the USA, India, Japan, and Korea.
In 2003 she won a Department of Conservation residency and spent six weeks living up Mount Taranaki making drawings and sculptures. In 2005 she did another residency, this time for five months at the Tylee Cottage in Whanganui. In 2009 she won the McConnell Properties Stoneleigh Sculpture Award. Her work is in most public collections in New Zealand. She was an active member of the New Zealand Society of Sculptors and Painters and is now an active member of "Outdoor Sculpture 2001" which celebrated the new millennium by installing eight new permanent sculptures in the Auckland Domain.
Her work usually reflects her interest in Tribal Ethnology and in Landscape Gardens.
She has had work shown in Australia, the USA, England, Holland, Spain, Hungary, Japan, Korea and Singapore. In 40 years she has made and exhibited 770 sculptures, 15 large installations and countless paintings, drawings and photographs. She now works mainly in fibre for indoor sculpture, and bronze for outdoor sculpture. Her 2D work is in a wide range of media.
The overall theme of her work is related to the domestication and socialisation of the found landscape.