He was born in Auckland and was educated at St Mary’s Convent and St Peter’s College. He attended Auckland University and graduated with B.A. and L.L.B. In 1985 he won the Legal Writing Prize at the University of Auckland Law School. He worked as a Solicitor for the Department of Māori Affairs in 1985-86 and also worked for the Māori Land Court. In 1991 he was appointed as Chief Executive Officer of Te Whanau o Waipareira Trust. In 1999 he entered parliament as the Labour member for Hauraki and in the 2002 election he won the Tamaki Makaurau seat which he held until the 2005 election. He co-hosts a Radio Live show with Willie Jackson. He has chaired the New Zealand Māori Rugby League Board. In 1997 he was voted ‘Person of the Year’ by the Sunday Star Times and in the same year was voted ‘New Zealander of the Year’ by North and South magazine. In 1998 he was voted ‘Man of the Year’ by Metro magazine. He writes non-fiction articles.
- Letter and form from Tamihere on 23 Dec. 1992.
- Phone conversation with Tamihere’s secretary: 14 Aug 1998.
- http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/John-Tamihere 4 Dec. 2008.
- http://web.archive.org/web/20050211153942/http://www.ps.parliament.govt.nz/mp142.htm 4 Dec. 2008.
- John Tamihere: Black and White. Auckland, N.Z.: Reed, 2004.
- Co-authored with Helen Bain.
- Stokes, Jon. "Frank Insights Into Labour’s Controversial Political Maverick." Pacifi Journalism Review 11.1 (2005): 218-219.
- "Te Take Māori: A Māori Perspective Of Legislation And Its Interpretation With An Emphasis On Planning Law." Auckland University Law Review 5 (1985): 137-143.
- "Treaty of Waitangi." PSA Journal 1986.
- "Treaty of Waitangi - An Emphasis on Planning Law." NZ Law Journal July 1987. No further details.
- "Tino Rangatriratanga: Modern Perspectives on a Māori Nation." http://www.waipareira.com/PDFs/JT_8sep08_TinoRangatiratanga.pdf. 8 Sept. 2008.
- Taylor, Phil. "Six of the Best." Sunday Star-Times 4 Jan. 1998: C1-2.