Michelle was born in Wellington and was educated at Cannon’s Creek Primary School and Wellington High School. She went on to study at Auckland University where she is working towards a B.A. majoring in employment and labour relations. In 1985 Michelle began working as a tutor and in 1988 became a youth worker. Since 1989 to the present she has been General Manager of Te Rapunga o Poutama Work and Education Trust. In 2004 Michelle was featured on the Māori Television programme "Takatapuhi: From Protestor to GM."
- Correspondence from Michelle Tohi on 2 Nov 2004.
- Tohi, Michelle Ripeka. "Koha." Broadsheet 161 (1988): 28-29.
- "Koha." Broadsheet 161 (1988): 28-29.
- Tohi talks with Lisa Sabbage about the custom of giving a koha and observes that despite women’s groups and anti-racism groups professing knowledge of aspects of Māori culture they still continue to disregard the Māori use of koha.