Josephine Tumahai was born in Helensville and was educated at Waimauku Primary School and Kaipara College. She was a psychiatric nurse at Oakley Hospital in Point Chevalier for three years. She worked for MacKenzie’s Department Store and managed Paddy’s Market in Auckland’s Hobson Street for ten years. Tumahai raised three children and has seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Since 1989 she has been one of the instigators of the establishment of the marae-based Tumanako House which is a social and health service for her iwi and local community. She is actively involved in the Ngāti Whatua marae and assists in hosting various groups and cultural exchanges at the marae.
- Phone conversation with Josie Tumahai on 3 August, 1998.
- "Tumanako Te Puna Reweti." The Book of New Zealand Women - Ko Kui Ma Te Kaupapa. Eds. Charlotte Macdonald, Merimeri Penfold and Bridget Williams. Wellington, N.Z.: Bridget Williams Books, 1991: 555-560.
- Co-authored with Danny Tumahai and Cushla Parekowhai.