Maria Tini was born in Bluff and was educated in her whanau and hapu, Tuhourangi-Ngāti Wahiao, at Whakarewarewa. She attended Whakarewarewa Primary School, St Mary’s School, Rotorua, and Sacred Heart Girls’ College in Hamilton. She continued her studies at the University of Waikato. From 1981-82 she was President of the Awarua Māori Women’s Welfare League. She has been a board member of the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute, and member of the Bay of Plenty Area Health Board, Invercargill Prisons Board, and Ngāi Tahu Māori Trust Board. She is currently a board member of the New Zealand Historic Places Trust and of the Māori Heritage Council. She has been Chair of Haparangi A7 Land Trust, a Trustee of Ranui Lands Trust (Thermal Reserve), a Trustee of Te Roro-o-Te-Rangi Marae and Trustee of Te Whetu Whanau Trust (Familial Gastric Cancer Research Project). Maria has also been a committee member of Te Rau Aroha Project (Te Wahiao Trustees Building Committee) Wharekai and a Licencee for Nga Mokai-a-koko, Te Kohanga Reo. She is Regional Director for Te Puni Kokiri, Rotorua and was formerly a language and tourism tutor at Arahia Academy in Rotorua. Tini has an ATCL (Associate of Trinity College London) in pianoforte and is involved in cultural entertainment in Rotorua. She has written plays and light opera for children, has composed waiata and has written non-fiction articles for National Geographic Travel magazine. Tini has contributed reports on health and tourism for Te Puni Kokiri publications. She likes "to assist other people reach their objectives... helping Māori, young and old, to achieve what they are really wanting to say whether through music, drama, prose or reports."
- Correspondence from Tini on 17 July and 5 Aug. 1998
- "League Notes: Awarua (Bluff) Māori Women’s Welfare League: Report 1981-1982 Regional Conference Twizel." Tu Tangata 5 (Apr./May 1982): 20.
- In this annual report, Tini writes of the various projects undertaken by the Awarua Māori Women’s Welfare League which included fundraising for the Te Rau Aroha Marae project, raising money for Cot Death Research, working with offenders on Community Service Sentence, mediating between parents and school authorities, and counselling Māori patients at Kew Hospital. The Awarua branch also conducted Māori culture and language classes and works with the Community Resource Centre in Bluff.
- "New Authority Aims To Ensure Protection Of Wahi Tapu." Pu Kaea 4 (Aug. 1994): 9.
- "New Regional Head for Rotorua TPK." Kia Hiwa Ra: National Māori Newspaper 16 (Jan./Feb. 1994): 8.
- "Māori Heritage Council Met For The First Time." Kahungunu 5 (1994): 18.
- "Women in top level management at TPK." Te Māori News 2.21 (Dec. 1993): 18-19.