He grew up in the Ruatoria area and lived at Whareponga and Tuparoa before commencing study at Te Aute in the same year as Te Rangi Hiroa. He "studied at Nelson Theological College, and although ordained a deacon of the Anglican Church, became a schoolteacher and taught at Māori schools in Northland, Waikato and East Coast. He was one of the first Māoris to become a headmaster.... During his retirement, Mr Tawhiri lived in Auckland, returning to Gisborne only three months before he died [aged ninety]". (Te Ao Hou 66 (1969):3.)
- “Haere Ki O Koutou Tipuna.” Te Ao Hou 66 (1969): 3.
- Dansey, Harry and Riwai Te Hiwinui Tawhiri. “Te Matikara Motu: The Lost Finger.” Te Ao Hou 63 (1968): 6.
- "Te Matikara Motu/The Lost Finger." Recounted by Riwai te Hiwinui Tawhiri to Harry Dansey. Te Ao Hou 63 (1968): 6-9. In Māori and English.
- Riwai Te Hiwinui Tawhiri recounts to Dansey an experience encountered on his eighth birthday in 1887 when he disobeyed his grandfather’s instructions by taking his gun and going hunting in the bush. While hunting he accidentally shot one of his fingers and returning home he was promptly lashed for disobeying his grandfather and then his grandfather bound the lacerated finger to strips of rata bark and within two weeks his finger was healed.
- "Haere Ki O Koutou Tipuna." Te Ao Hou 66 (1969): 3.