Thompson was born in Wellington and was educated at Rongotai College in Wellington. He studied engineering at Wellington Polytechnic and graduated with a New Zealand Certificate of Engineering. He continued his studies at the University of Auckland and graduated with a B.Arch. (Hons) in 1982. Since his graduation, Thompson worked for an architecture firm in Auckland for two years. In 1984 he started his own architecture practice. Thompson is interested in the conception of an architecture based on two primary cultures embracing a crossing over in thinking and producing new possibilities. His writing is mainly confined to architectural studies.
- Phone conversation with Rewi Thompson on 31 July 1998.
- Now See Hear! Art, Language and Translation. Ed. Ian Wedde and Gregory Burke. Wellington, N.Z.: Victoria UP for the Wellington City Art Gallery, 1990. 262.
- "Architecture & Translation." Now See Hear! Art, Language and Translation. Ed. Ian Wedde and Gregory Burke. Wellington, N.Z.: Victoria UP for the Wellington City Art Gallery, 1990. 223-228.
- Thompson writes an essay on translating Māori concepts into architectural forms where the spiritual meaning and symbolism are maintained and influence the structural constraints. Using his own drawings, designs and photographs Thompson illustrates how Māori symbolism can be conveyed in contemporary architecture.