Peter Waaka was born in Rotorua and was educated at Kings’ College, Auckland. He continued his studies at the University of Auckland where he graduated with a B.A. in Social Anthropology and an M.A. (Hons). In 1979 he was a tutor at the University of Auckland, and from 1980-1982 he tutored at the Waiariki Polytechnic in Rotorua. In 1981 Waaka was appointed Education Officer at the Art Gallery in Rotorua where he curated the "Whakarewarewa: The People and The Place" exhibition in 1982. From 1982-1984, he was Employment Promotions Officer for the Rotorua District Council and from 1985-1988 worked as Assistant Manager at the Geyserland Resort Hotel. In 1986 Waaka curated the "Tarawera Centennial" exhibition at the National Museum of New Zealand in Wellington. He was an Executive Officer for the Department of Social Welfare from 1988-1989 and from 1989-1990 was director/consultant of Waaka Consultancy. From 1990-1992 he was Manager of Research and Manager of Treaty Issues at the Ministry of Māori Affairs. Waaka was Proprietor of ōpōtiki Hotel and Lodge from 1992-1993 and since 1993 has been director/consultant of Param Consultants. He is a member of the Arbitrators and Mediators Institute of New Zealand and of the New Zealand Federation of Family Budget Services. He has travelled extensively overseas on cultural, educational and business trips.
- Correspondence from Peter Waaka: 9 July 1998 and 9 Nov. 2004.
- "Whakarewarewa." Rotorua 1880-1980. Rotorua, N.Z.: H.A. Holmes & Coy, Rotorua and District Historical Soc., 1980. 161-166.
- Waaka writes a history of Whakarewarewa noting the tribes associated with the area, the Native Land Court’s decision on the title of Whakarewarewa in April 1883, the construction of the bridge over the Puarenga Stream in 1885, and the emergence of the guiding industry. He discusses Whakarewarewa’s activities during the first two world wars, describes the construction of carved meeting houses at Whakarewarewa and the opening of the New Zealand Māori Arts and Crafts Institute in 1965.
- "Feathers and Fibre." AGMANZ News 13.4 (1982): 1-2.
- Whakarewarewa: The People and The Place Exhibition Catalogue. Rotorua, N.Z.: 1982.
- Tarawera Centennial Exhibition Catalogue. Wellington, 1986.
- "Taupopoki, Mita 1845/46?-1935." The Dictionary of New Zealand Biography. Vol. 2: 1870-1900. Wellington, N.Z.: Bridget Williams; Dept. of Internal Affairs, 1993. 505-507.
- "Whakarewarewa: The Growth of a Māori Village." MA thesis. U of Auckland, 1981.