Christine Hellyar was born in New Plymouth and studied at the University of Auckland, Elam School of Fine Art, graduating in 1970. There she was influenced by international artists such as Louise Bourgeois and Robert Smithson. Her final dissertation "Landscape Sculpture" focused on 'landscape,' one of the two main themes in her work. The other focus is 'museums,' inspired by her many childhood visits to Fred Butler at his home and museum.
Through the 70s Hellyar moved around exploring the South Island and Europe, north Africa, the UK and USA.
On returning to New Zealand she taught part-time at the University of Auckland, working in the Elam School of Fine Arts between 1981 and 1996. She was awarded the first Adam Visual Arts Award for her significant contribution to New Zealand Art. This allowed her to make her first large outdoor bronzes.
Hellyar has been awarded several residencies and prizes, particularly those that support her exploration of landscape including: Tylee Cottage Residency (Whanganui, 2005), DoC residency on Taranaki (2003), and an artist-in-residence at the Auckland Botanic Gardens (2011).
"The overall theme of her work is related to the domestication and socialisation of the found landscape."