She was born in Kaitaia and was educated at May Rd Primary School, Mt Roskill, Titahi Bay Primary School and Kaikoura High School. She continued her studies at the University of Auckland and graduated with B. Theol. and M.Ed (Hons). In 1990 she was awarded a Winston Churchill Fellowship and is currently studying towards a doctoral degree extramurally from Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. Since 1995 she has been the Ahorangi (Dean) of Te Rau Kahikatea, the Māori Theological College at St John’s Theological College in Auckland. She writes non-fiction articles.
- Correspondence from Te Paa: 16 Mar., 6 Apr., and 3 July 1998.
- Melbourne, Hineani. "Māori Sovereignty." Māori Sovereignty: The Māori Perspective. Hineani Melbourne. Auckland, N.Z.: Hodder Moa Beckett, 1995. 167-175.
- "The Politics of Contemporary Identity." Growing Up Māori. Ed. Witi Ihimaera. Auckland, N.Z.: Tandem Press, 1998. 211-219.
- "Women and the Structures of the Church - The Position of Māori Women." Jenny Kaa (Te Paa). Tu Tangata 32 (Oct./Nov. 1986): 64-65.
- Beginning with the creation story of Christians, Jews and Moslems, the author asserts that women have always been identified with evil, temptation, sin, the flesh, and the world as opposed to men being associated with spirituality, godliness and reason. Te Paa examines other roles of woman within the Christian and Biblical framework, discusses the question of whether women can be priests and the issues facing Māori women and the Church. She discusses the impact of early missionary teaching on the role and status of Māori women and contends that pre-contact Māori women were respected, whereas after European settlement another role was expected - that of ‘the servile and passive position of women in the Church.’ Te Paa writes that one of the functions of Pihopatanga o Aotearoa is to establish a structure that is ‘more in tune with Māori needs and aspirations...a structure which would permit a ‘peculiarly’ Māori growth and development to take place in partnership with the orthodox Anglican Church.’
- "Māori Sovereignty." Māori Sovereignty: The Māori Perspective. Hineani Melbourne. Auckland, N.Z.: Hodder Moa Beckett, 1995. 167-175.
- In this discussion on Māori sovereignty with Hineani Melbourne, Te Paa speaks of favouring the concept of partnership over sovereignty - the latter of which she suggests ‘has the hint of subordinate and superior relationships.’ She goes on to discuss the model of partnership in the Anglican church with its three tikanga representing the Pakeha, Māori and Polynesian strands of the church and the consensual decision-making processes laid out for General Synod. Te Paa notes that at St John’s College there is a similar process of realising Treaty obligations and Te Rau Kahikatea (College of St. John the Evangelist) has complete autonomy while maintaining relationship with the other tikanga. Te Paa calls for critical analysis of some aspects of the rising nationalistic view of some Māori, questions the approach of some Māori men in their relationship with Māori women, notes a dearth of leadership, and questions the reality of so-called Māori consultation by government departments.
- "The Pain and Hope of Self Criticism." The Pacific Journal of Theology: Journal of the South Pacific Association of Theological Schools (SPATS) Ser. 2. 17 (1997): 100-106.
- In this text of a sermon preached by Te Paa at the Auckland Anglican Cathedral in March 1997, Te Paa uses the 12th chapter of St John’s Gospel as her text and expounds on the concept of ‘insider’ language and the capacity to be ‘inside’ a group but still exert a critical faculty towards the group. As a Māori woman this gives her the potential to critique the behaviour of some Māori men and acts of violence by some Māori. But she notes that the ‘insiders’ of the Christian gospel transcend racial and gender divisions which puts into question the partnership model of the Anglican church which has separated the church into three racial strands. She suggests that the Gospel presents the possibility of alliances across the racial and gender boundaries, of risk-taking in relationships because of a combined faith in God and the knowledge that unity is made up of diversity.
- "Church & State: A Māori Perspective on Te Tino Rangātiratanga." Selwyn Lectures 1996. Ed. Rev. Or. Janet Crawford. Auckland, N.Z.: College of St John the Evangelist, 1998. 56-65.
- Te Paa discusses various implications in the debate on tino rangātiratanga from 1984 to the present and she draws parallels from the writing of Cornel West of Harvard University.